When thinking about BC Craft beer we want to know where to get it, where to drink it and when we can next have it. What often slips the thirsty mind is where it comes from. Yes, your beer likely came from one of BC’s awesome craft brewers but that can’t be where it starts? Indeed, looking up the supply chain there are others that have the same passion for quality, customer service and of course craft beer. Hops Connect are a group of people you may have never heard of before but it is time you did.
The craft beer scene is largely fueled by hops. The Pacific Northwest has a love affair with hop bitterness and delicious ales but what is a hop and where does it come from? Straight from the definition of academia, “Hops are the female flowers (also called seed cones or strobiles) of a hop species, Humulus lupulus. They are used primarily as a flavoring and stability agent in beer, to which they impart a bitter, tangy flavor, though hops are also used for various purposes in other beverages and herbal medicine”
How one gets this delicious strobile is where Hops Connect comes in. As a grower, pelleter and distributor of hops, craft breweries and home brewers alike can get Cascade, Centennial, Chinook, Fuggle or some 8 other varieties of hops within an arms reach. Whether you are looking for a stook, bale or zip-lock bag’s worth Hops Connect has a solution for your need. Plus you can buy it online and have it shipped direct to your door.
In spreading the good word of BC beer, Hops Connect recently reached out to brewers, pub owners and beer advocates to come together and learn more about the hop-source of great beer. Gathering at the new Portside Pub in Vancouver’s Gastown three casks were tapped, each brewed using hops provided by Hops Connect. The beers were the Parallel 49 Gypsy Tears Ruby Ale, Howe Sound Super Jupiter Grapefruit IPA and the The Powell Street Old Jalopy Pale Ale.
Through this fine evening of socialization and beer drinking enlightening facts came to light about the beer industry and how it affects the hop market. For instance, while Canada is seeing a stable consumption of beer nationally it is undergoing a drastic shift from mass production to the Micro-Brewery. This fact did not result in the room gasping for air but it did hit home that our passion for craft beer is spreading and more people are coming to the enlightened side of delicious beer. Outside of Canada, countries such as India and Vietnam are verging on double-digit, year over year growth in beer consumption. This explosion is more surprising than our local stats and it is exciting to think of the opportunities ahead for brewers and drinkers alike outside of Canada. It will not be surprising to see some local brewers and organizations like Hops Connect looking to capitalize on an exploding international demand.
Spending the evening in a room filled with the artists behind the beer we love, one thing stands out. The craft beer industry is unique; it is about creativity, artistry and a passion for what one does. Many BC brewers have a great opportunity for growth but choose to stay loyal to why they are here in the first place. Craft brewers are not in this industry solely for the money, without compromise they are here to share their amazing ideas and hop-based creations with those that appreciate it most – craft beer drinkers.
To all the brewers, the drinkers, the pub owners and to the suppliers such as Hops Connect – Thank you for fueling our passion for craft beer.
Dustan Sept / BeerMeBC