I love hops. Just when I think I've seen all they can do to make beer more awesome, they go and impress me with something else. Did you know that there are hops that can make your beer taste like candy? This is for real.
Citra hops, Galaxy hops, and Sorachi Ace hops are three relative newcomers to the hop scene, and brewers are really only just starting to play around with them on a grand scale. Far from the bitter grapefruit and perfume shop character that we most often associate with hoppy beers, these three gems are getting a reputation for their fruity, juicy, and candy-like flavors and aromas. Think: Starbursts. Think: Jolly Ranchers. Think: Yum.
Citra hops are like digging into a bowl of tropical fruit: mango, pineapple, fresh orange, and melon. This comes through most in the aroma, so make sure to pour any citra-infused beer into a glass and take a nice, deep inhale. Keep an eye out for these beers: Abrasive Ale from Surly Brewing Company, Single Hop (Citra) Imperial IPA from Flying Dog Brewery, and Citra Single Hop IPA from Mikkeller.
Galaxy hops are actually fairly similar to Citra, though you'll get more passion fruit flavors and a softer citrus character. If you like juicier, fruitier flavors in your beer and less tart, then you'll love beers with this hop. Look for these beers: Walkabout Pale Ale from Flat 12 and Galaxy White IPA from Anchorage Brewing Company.
Sorachi Ace might just be my favorite of the bunch. Their flavor and aroma are a dead ringer for old-school lemon drop candies. In other words, lemonade sweet, and not so tart your tongue will pucker. Some people mention a butteriness in beers brewed with Soarchi Ace hops, but I haven't noticed this in any of the beers I've come across. Try this beer: Brooklyn Sorachi Ace from Brooklyn Brewery.
If you can't get your hands on any of the beers mentioned here, keep your eye out for brewery-only draft beers and local releases. The hops are special enough that you can be sure their presence will be advertised!
Have you had any beers with these hops? What are your favorites?
(Image: Barry Singleton/Shutterstock)