Widmer Brothers and Breakside Brewery Explore Experimental Hops in New Collaboration Series

Widmer Bothers Brewery and Pub (image courtesy of Widmer Brothers Brewing)
Widmer Bothers Brewery and Pub (image courtesy of Widmer Brothers Brewing)

PORTLAND, Ore. – March 28, 2016Widmer Brothers Brewing and Breakside Brewery recently partnered to brew four different single-hop pale ales, each featuring a new experimental hop varietal. The four beers – called Catharsis, Last Roman, Sin and Grace, and Cheap Seats – are now pouring at Widmer Brothers Brewing and Pub.

The two breweries used four different experimental hop varieties from John I. Haas, Inc.’s Hop Breeding Company, in the same base beer to showcase each hop varietal’s unique profile for both flavor and aroma. The base beer recipe is a version of a strong pale ale recipe that Widmer Brothers has used for similar hop trials since 2006, brewed with American two-row malt with small amounts of German Vienna and CaraHell. The emphasis for the hop trials is on medium-sized late kettle hop additions and moderate dry hopping.

The purpose of the trials is to explore the profiles of experimental hop varieties, how they react in the brewing process, and ultimately contribute to a beer’s flavor and aroma. The Widmer Brothers brewing team has evaluated thousands of different experimental hop varietals over the past two decades, often inspecting hundreds of experimental hop varieties each year. They select the best or most interesting varieties and the brewery tests them in various brewing conditions to ultimately provide hop growers with sensory and analytical feedback, which helps growers with their hop breeding and development efforts.

“Since our new pilot brewery isn’t ready yet, we needed help getting these trials completed in a timely manner,” said Joe Casey, director of brewing at Widmer Brothers. “I approached our friends Ben (Edmunds) and Jacob (Leonard) and the rest of the team at Breakside Brewery out of respect for their brewing prowess, and we feel very fortunate that they were able to collaborate with us on these hop projects. It’s a win-win in our book because the brewers and growers get their homework done, and the two breweries’ customers get to peek behind the curtain and sample what could be the newest varietal breakthrough.”

All four beers are available today at the Widmer Brothers Pub. The beers available in the experimental hop trial project are called Catharsis, which tests out the HBC X472 hop; Last Roman, which utilizes the HBC X527 hop; Sin and Grace, which tests the HBC X529 hop; and Cheap Seats, with HBC X291 hops. The two breweries invite you to come down to the Pub to try them, and encourage your feedback.

“These trials offer us an amazing opportunity to explore the new varietals that hop growers are excited about,” said Ben Edmunds, owner and brewmaster at Breakside Brewery. “We’re honored that Widmer Brothers approached us to run these trials while their pilot brewery is offline, and we hope that we provide our peers and consumers with some fun beers and insight into hops that might be more common in the near future!”

For more information on Widmer Brothers Brewing, visit widmerbrothers.com or see what the brewery is up to on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

About Widmer Brothers Brewing
Widmer Brothers Brewing helped create the Pacific Northwest craft beer movement in 1984 when founders Kurt and Rob Widmer, then in their 20s, began brewing unique interpretations of traditional German beer styles. In 1986, Widmer Brothers Brewing introduced the original American-style Hefeweizen, which elevated the brewery to national acclaim. Since then, the brewery’s iconic Hefe, which celebrates its 30th anniversary in 2016, has grown to become Oregon’s favorite craft beer. For more than three decades, Widmer Brothers has continued to push the boundaries of craft beer, developing a variety of beers with an unapologetic, uncompromised commitment to innovation. Based in Portland, Oregon, the brewery currently brews a variety of beers including Hefeweizen, Upheaval IPA, Steel Bridge Porter, Drop Top Amber Ale, Replay IPA, and a full seasonal lineup. Additionally, the brewery continues to make a series of limited edition, small-batch beers available in Oregon and at the Widmer Brothers pub in North Portland.