If all you do is drink beer, you might not understand the importance of hop contracts in the brewing business. That’s fine, but if you love beer (especially hoppy IPAs) you should know that most breweries sign contracts with hop providers (aka hop houses or hop brokers) to insure that they will have the hops they need to make the beers you love. If a brewery has a flagship IPA that people adore, it is wise to have a contract for the hops needed to brew the beer.
Hop contracts, very simply put, define how much of a particular hop variety a brewery will get each year and the price the brewery will pay. For example, a brewery might contract to get 1,100 pounds of Amarillo hops each year, for the next five years, at $x.xx per pound. This is a super-simple definition and there’s a lot more to it.
Love ’em or hate ’em, hop contracts are a reality in the brewing business that, in theory, stabilize the demand and the price, though these contracts are a matter of much consternation for some brewery owners. I’m being polite. Some brewers consider hop contracts the barrels over which the hop suppliers bend the breweries. Whatever the case, they are a fact of life and, in the end, hop contracts play a role in determining what kinds of beers a brewery is able too produce.
And that little lesson brings us to news or a new beer offered by Woodinville’s Brickyard Brewing.
Here’s the news straight from the brewery:
Brickyard Brewing has some exciting news! Trail Marker IPA is a brand new beer releasing to our regular lineup. Our expanded hop contract has recently kicked in and we threw all thoughts of cost and profit out the window to make an IPA that we can be proud of and our customers will love. Our only desire is to make great tasting craft beer. Trail Marker IPA is an explosive mash of flavor and aroma using Mosaic, Citra, Cascade, Columbus and Chinook hops. This is all balanced with a light body and well-endowed 7.2%ABV, 51 IBU. Aromatic characteristics are Citrus and Mango. Flavor has a low to mid maltiness with a medium bittering that does not linger.
Trail Marker IPA will be released at the Brickyard Brewing 2nd Anniversary party in our taproom on December 13th. Draft beer will be available statewide via distribution in Washington and Idaho on the 15th. 22oz bottle availability will be early 2015. Please let me know if you would like to have a free sample bottle delivered to your facility and I will coordinate with our distributor to make it happen.