As readers of 'A Swift One' will know we love hops.This weekend I have been fortunate to find a couple of new varieties to try out, unfortunately for me, not side by side but within a short time of each other. One came as single hopped beer, the other as a dry hopped addition to a beer. What were they like?
To be completely honest I have come across 'Celeia' before but that was around 12 months ago and I have not knowingly drunk it since. This time it was used to dry hop a Rat beer, of the same name. It is bred from Styrian Goldings, and Aurora and is said to be best used as an aroma hop, especially in lighter beer, and is good for late hopping. Sounds ideal for dry hopping then. It is a relatively low alpha acid hop, and consequently not very astringent, but its character brings out a fresh tasting, citrus flavour with some background grassiness (if that is a word). May be not flavoursome enough for a single hopped beer but it does give something unusual to a beer, that other hops fail to do. I was impressed by it, and would be interested to try it in other beers if anyone knows of beers that is has been used in.
The next beer was one of Pictish's single hopped variety beers. I expected 'Dana' to be a beer with all kinds of everything in the taste, (sorry, couldn't resist !). It is another Styrian variety, grown in Slovenia, that can be used for bitterness and aroma in the beer. It is a fairly high alpha acid hop, and imparts a bitterness to the beer one would expect, along with a hoppy aroma; the whole thing being balanced and flavoursome. Trying to pin down one flavour that predominates is difficult, there is something of a biscuity taste to the beer, but that could be from the malt backgound . There is a fresh flavour that comes through, clean, and again with some grassy notes and with apple, rather than citrus hints in it. These give the beer an unusual taste, that is possibly not to everyone's liking. I enjoyed it though and found it a pleasant antidote to some of the more aggressive hops that seem to be the norm nowadays.
So if you want to try something a bit different look out for these two, no doubt they will be appearing in more beers in the not too distant future, you can make your own mind up.