Winter is coming. As temperatures drop, many craft drinkers welcome dark, seasonal beers during the cold winter months. Stouts, holiday ales, winter warmers, and specialty releases are the talk of the town. While malt-oriented beers are anticipated, winter is typically beer’s slowest season. While seasonal beer sales are strong, they are well behind the IPA’s 23% stranglehold of the craft beer market share.
IPA’s popularity can be partly attributed to its unique taste. This style uses more hops than any other beer type for numerous reasons, ranging from bitterness, to aroma, to flavor. The rise in popularity has a lot to do with America’s love affair with hop-forward beers. They’ve even coined the terms “Hophead” to describe these fanatical hoppy–beer lovers. Unfortunately, Hopheads may struggle to find their preference of citrus, floral, or herbal notes amongst the winter beer selection.
Now, that’s not to saywinter beers are lacking hops. Hops are harvested in late August through September, then they’re dried and pelletized during the fall and thus creating the freshest available hops at the start of winter. Some would say hops are at prime in the winter. Brewers like Deschutes and Firestone Walker, and thousands of others take full advantage of hops in their winter beers.
If you still need more hops in your life, we’ve created a gift guide to keep your holidays hoppy by the very people who live, breathe, grow, and trade hops. Here are our top 10 gifts for hop lovers. Just click on an image if you want to check out the corresponding item.
A “Wet” Hopping Device
Hop Randall is an Organoleptic Hop Transducer Module (its invention is credited to Dogfish Head Brewery in Delaware). Install a Hop Randall between your keg and tap, and then fill the double-chamber filter with fresh whole leaf hops. As the beer washes over the hops in the chambers, alcohol acts as a solvent, stripping the hop oils for an unprecedented–intensity of hop flavor and aroma.
Very unique, handcrafted hop jewelry made from polymer clay and anodized aluminum wire, and Ornaments for the craft brew aficionado in your life. Made in Vermont.
Hops make our favorite beers taste great, but apparently, it’s good for our hair too. Hops are combined with essential oils from rosemary, grapefruit, and fir needles. This Hops shampoo is bound to help moisturize dry scalps and make your hair smell better than your favorite beer. Made in the USA.
A Hop Pen
This lager-hued pen is handmade with resin tinted and textured with hand-ground, locally grown hops. Whether you use it to pour over your daily to-dos or pen a novel, this heady tool makes a buzz-worthy gift for the beer connoisseur. Each one-of- a-kind pen is housed in a handsome maple wood gift box. Handmade in Connecticut.
Hop Beard Oil
Hops and beards are a combination formed in Valhalla. Four Vices Beard Oil is made with unique scents of tobacco, coffee, hops, and hemp cannabis to create the perfect subtle blend of manliness and comes in a number of different hop varieties. Made in Washington.
A Hop Candle
Brew Candles are great for beer geeks and candle lovers alike! Hand-poured into a recycled 22oz beer bottle, each candle is inspired by the flavor of a different craft beer, and they smell amazing! Made with soy wax and lead-free wicks in the USA.
Package of 5 very cool hop and craft beer inspired stickers. One of each design: Hop Head, Hop Bomb, Green Hop in circle, and White Hop in a circle. Made in the USA.
B-Hoppy is the original hop candy. Floral and citrus flavors capture the aroma and flavor profile of fresh hop cones without residual bitterness. B-Hoppy candy was developed to truly represent tasty hop varieties like Calypso, Apollo, Super Galena, Bravo and Zeus. Made in the USA.
This beer soap is made with IPA craft beer and ground hops, giving it a spicy, herbal, and earthy scent. Made in the USA.
A signature blend of hops infused Pacific coarse sea salt creates a subtle vibrancy on the palette with a complex balance of citrus and floral notes. Made in the USA.
Bill Elkins is a craft brewery account manager in the Western United States and Canada for Hopsteiner, one of the largest hop growing, trading, breeding, and processing firms in the world.