From the Beer Writer: There’s a new hop varietal that’s taking the brewing world by storm. It’s called Strata, and it was developed by Oregon State University as part of its Aroma Hops Breeding Program. I’d heard a lot about Strata’s multi-faceted flavor and aroma assets and even had a beer or two that included the varietal, but it was on a recent visit to North Park Beer Co. that I really got to know it. Owner and head of brewing Kelsey McNair recently concocted a double IPA singularly hopped with this newcomer called This Is Strata! Before going into this hop’s attributes, I’ll go back to one of my favorite fruit-of-the-bine memories: the first-time I had a beer hopped exclusively with Mosaic. It burst with such layered flavors of tropical and citrus fruit that I could hardly believe all of those characteristics came from a single varietal. I felt the same way after the first sip of this beer, which is big on tropical essence that’s backed by citrus and stone fruits, plus a tinge of pininess in the finish. The day before trying This Is Strata!, I sampled a black IPA brewed with smoked pineapple (I know…how basic). That beer was big on pineapple flavor because it was brewed with it, but This Is Strata! had almost as much pineapple flavor, but none of the iconic island fruit. It’s no wonder brewers are going ga-ga over this new darling of the hop world. It’s a safe bet you will, too.
From the Brewer: “When I first read about this new hop called Strata and its flavor profile description, which boasted ‘mango, passion fruit, strawberry, grapefruit and wafting cannabis,’ I thought it sounded like a complete package and I couldn’t wait to see what it could do in a single-hop application. I then attempted to buy enough to make a full-size, 15-barrel batch, but sadly the supplier, IndieHops, had a very limited amount available and I was only able to purchase 22 pounds. While I was eager to use my newly acquired Strata, I patiently squirreled it away until this year’s harvest became available and I was able to get another 66 pounds. I then put together a recipe to make a West Coast Double IPA with a lean and mean malt bill of Golden Promise, pilsner and American two-row malts, which would set the stage for all of Strata’s glorious and oily hop resins to shine. I couldn’t be happier with how the beer turned out. The aroma is gigantic and bursting with pineapple, tangerine and super-sticky nugs. This is one mighty hop that can definitely stand on its own. At 8.7% alcohol-by-volume and dry in the finish, it’s big enough to keep an angry army at bay and dangerously easy to drink. THIS IS STRATA!”—Kelsey McNair, Owner & Head Brewer, North Park Beer Co.