A new series of single hop pale ales that showcases the power of everyone’s favourite little green flower.
“It’s something that I’ve hand in mind for years,” says Rik Garner, founder of Manchester’s First Chop, as he tells me all about ONE: a brand new range of single-hop pale ales that will be released throughout 2021 and available via Flavourly.com.
“People are a lot more aware these days of the hops that go into their beers,” he continues. “10 years ago, if you asked asked someone what hops were in their beer, they’d look at you as if you were mad. Now, as well as having favourite beers, they have favourite hops.”
The ONE range aims to act as a proper showcase of hops, allowing beer drinkers to identify the different characteristics a particular hop can bring in absolutely clarity. Each beer features the same base recipe; the malt bill, yeast of choice, and 4.2% ABV remains the same across each beer in the series. Only the all-important hop varies from beer to beer, giving you the chance to really compare and contrast between brews.
“The idea was to showcase different hops from different countries,” Rik continues, as he details which hops we’ll get to experience throughout the year. “We’ve got the UK Cascade, we’ve got Bouclier which is from France, we’ve got Styrian Wolf which is a Slovenian hop, Hallertau Blanc which is German, Galaxy which is Australian, and we’ve got Amarillo which is an American hop.”
ONE is one of the most exciting ranges landing on Flavourly in 2021; it’s a real showcase of the creativity that seems to be reaching new heights at First Chop right now, while also affording beer drinkers up and down the country a unique opportunity to interact with their beer in a different way.
Without further ado, Rik tells why each hop variety was chosen and what to expect from them…
“We decided to use the UK grown Cascade, as I think people will probably have had an enormous amount of US grown Cascade. The UK grown Cascade is subtly different. It’s the same variety but when it’s grown in a different soil under different conditions, it becomes different.”
“I really like the Bouclier. I’ve used it previously in smaller quantities in other beers. It’s a real all-rounder. It’s got nice bittering, a nice aroma. It’s what you’d get in a classic French Blonde. It’s citrussy, floral, a little bit spicy and herby.”
Hallertau Blanc (Germany)
“It’s a classic, German hop, typically used in German lager and pilsners. You get really lovely passion fruit and white grape flavours from it. It’s a really good one to showcase as a single hop variety, as it’s so much more than just a lager hop.
Styrian Wolf (Slovenia)
“Styrian Wolf is quite a new variety from Slovenia. It’s got strawberry notes, passion fruit, mango, it’s quite spicy and it’s a hop that, when I first came across it, really stood out to me. My dominant sense is my sense of smell and what stood out to me the first time I came across Styrian Wolf was, “whoa, that smells good”. When people first crack open a can of this beer, I want them to have that same experience.”
“We use Amarillo in quite of few of our beers, it’s one of our favourites. Amarillo is one of those we’ve got to thank for craft beer in general. It was there in the beginning and it’s come all the way through. It’s nice to use because of its history and importance to craft beer from the very start. It’s got everything; tropical fruit, citrus, it’s got that classic craft beer hop profile.”
“Galaxy is another classic, modern IPA hop with loads of citrus, peach, and passion fruit flavours. It’s a hop that I used a lot when I first started brewing but became quite hard to buy, so I haven’t used it for quite a few years.”
With a line-up of hop varieties that cover so many different facets of what the humulus lupus plant can offer, as well as several corners of the globe, each beer promises to stand alone with something unique to offer. And that’s kind of the point.
“We wanted to give people a different experience with each different hop, rather than picking six that were almost the same,” Rik explains. “We chose hops that we thought would work well in a single hop beer, as some hops do need other hops with them to work.
“Some of the beers are going to be for the real hop lovers, for people who are expecting an archetypal hoppy flavour, while others are going to showcase some of the more subtle profiles you can get from hops.”
Regardless of how you like your hops, ONE promises to have a beer for you.
The ONE ranges kicks off with ONE: Hallertau Blanc in February 2021 and will be available in limited quantities via Flavourly.com
WORDS: Kevin O’Donnell