It is our fourth harvest hop celebration, and a good occasion for Kentuckiana’s hopheads to unite over a pint or two of America’s most bitter beer and to banish thoughts of abominations like Keystone to the nether regions formerly reserved for silver bulleted sinners, Miller Lite miscreants and Auggie Busch’s backyard brunch chardonnay sippers.
The American Heritage dictionary defines lupulin as the “minute yellowish-brown hairs obtained from the strobili of the hop plant, formerly used in medicine as a sedative.” The word lupulin is derived from the new Latin lupulus (hop species, a diminutive of the Latin lupus, hop plant, from lupus, wolf).
Or, more simply: Bitterness beats watery flaccidity any old day.
Contrary to persistent rumors - probably spread by the same people who still insist that Bock beer is the result of brewing vats being cleaned once a year in springtime - beer is not “made” from hops. Beer is “made” from barley, and sometimes wheat and oats and rye. In short, beer is brewed from grain. The body and color of beer derives from these grains, and the alcohol is but a calling card left by yeast happily snacking on sugars in the malt.
Hops act as the spice of beer. Hops balance the inherent, malty sweetness. Hops provide the seasoning. Hops cleanse the palate and leave you begging for more. Hops make it interesting, and perhaps healthy as well: According to researchers for Japan’s Kirin Brewery, isohumulones, agents of bittering in hops, may help curb the development of fat in the human body.
Misconceptions about hops are annoying, persistent and entirely understandable. If one is to judge by the non-flavor profile of America’s best-selling mainstream lagers, it is certain that the majority of beer drinkers in our purportedly great nation are suffering from severe lupulin deprivation.
Trellis succulence: There is no exit strategy.
It’s always too early to predict what beers will pour and when, as typically the juggling of late arrivals and temperamental firkins requires last-minute improvisation.
However, here’s the first list of what we believe will be featured during Lupulin Land 2005.
I. Louisville area breweries.
As before, Louisville’s microbreweries will be featured at Lupulin Land 2005. This year’s theme is cask conditioning, and accordingly, BBC Beer Company (Main and Clay), Bluegrass Brewing Company (Shelbyville Road), Browning’s, Cumberland Brews and New Albanian Brewing Company each have been asked to make available a firkin of something hoppy.
We’ll try to deploy the firkins (along with the anticipated Bell’s Two Hearted cask-conditioned entry) for pouring during the first two weekends of the festival.
BBC Beer Company (APA?)
Bluegrass Brewing Company (?)
Browning’s (single hop varietal ESB?)
Cumberland Brews (?)
New Albanian Brewing Company (Croupier IPA squared?)
II. American microbrews.
Some are dispensed year-round.
Bell’s Two Hearted Ale (cask-conditioned)
Sierra Nevada Pale Ale
Others are not. Some of these are available periodically throughout the year, while others are coming via special order (*).
Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA
Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA
*Founders Devil Dancer
*Great Divide Hercules Double IPA
*Oaken Barrel Super Fly IPA (or an experimental hoppy ale)
*Rogue Anniversary Ale “Glen”
Rogue Dry-Hopped St. Rogue Red
Rogue I2PA 2003
Sierra Nevada IPA
*Two Brothers Hop Juice Double IPA
III. Imported beers.
Our fourth assemblage of hop-laden draft beers once again is dominated by American microbrews, although many “Old World” beer styles showcase the hop. For instance, we serve Pilsner Urquell throughout the year.
Pilsner Urquell (Czech Republic)
So far, we managed to locate four diverse examples of hoppy European ales and lagers:
Harviestoun Bitter & Twisted (Scotland)
Jever Pilsner (Germany)
Poperings Hommel Ale (Belgium)
St. Georgenbrau Keller Bier (Germany)
IV. Waiting by the phone.
Special beers from Avery, New Holland and Three Floyds still may surface in the weeks preceding the festival’s opening on October 7.
We’ve also yet to hear from an importer or two. Stay tuned for further details.
V. Introducing a very special guest: Randall the Enamel Animal.
“Randall, a Dogfish head invention, is an organoleptic hop transducer module –- a three-foot-long, cylinder-filter packed with a half a pound of whole leaf hops that we affix to the beer line leaving a keg.”
We have purchased a Randall from Dogfish Head Craft Brewery, and will equip him for action beginning on October 7.