Are hoppy beers on the way down? Brewers look to barley as hop prices surge

30 November, 2017

Twice hopped, quad hopped, hopped hopped, wet hopped, live hopped - it sounds like a Dr. Suess book and it's gotten a little silly by a lot of people's beer loving standards. It seems like mid-grade standard of 80 IBU's in the "hop-centric" craze of late has caused hop prices to get out of reach. In response we're starting to see now is more brewers experimenting with traditional flavorings like malted barley.

Hops have dominated the craft brewing for nearly a decade, but a combination of high demand and new agricultural advances could mean that the crop's reign is coming to an end. A new study published this week has found even more notable differences in the taste of beers malted from barley varieties than previously thought. The researchers, led by Oregon State University, said the findings are an important first step toward a potential new market for beer connoisseurs.
Pat Hayes, one of the experts leading the study, says "We started this project with a question: Are there are novel flavors in barley that carry through malting and brewing and into beer? This is a revolutionary idea in the brewing world. We found that the answer is yes,"

Let's not blame the hop growers, it's mostly our fault. Whether you admit it or not, IPA's got popular, real popular over the last 4-5 years and we the beer loving community brought "hop tea" to to the top as a group. After that it's simple business economics, not hop grower avarice. More hops require more land, more water, more harvesting time, drying time, packaging and delivery costs and so on. Thus we forced the hand of the hop farming community to meet our demand by increasing their supply which simply cost money. We're not holding all hop farmers to business innocence, we're sure there's some who took advantage of the craze and looked to turn a decent profit off the willing but in a larger sense, it's just business and we made it to cool to be cost efficient. Reports of 60% increase in the hop export price tend to give way to our conspiracy theory that not all are innocent in this game.

Honestly we're excited to hear one of they key words in the beer scene in 2018 will be "diversification" in flavors and styles. A lot of great traditional beer recipes rely on malt and barley forward ingredients and we're excited to see this re-surge. We look forward to walking into a tap room and not seeing six various styles and fourteen IPA's on the menu.