There are so many new varieties of hops hitting the market these days—each with their own flavour and aroma characteristics—that it’s hard to keep up. Most of these hop strains are hybrids developed in laboratories and test farms, like Oregon State University’s hop breeding program, which was responsible for Cascade hops, among others.
Recently, though, a new hop strain has entered the fray and it has brewers pretty excited, and you should be excited, too. Known by its trademarked name as Sabro, this hop strain is a bit different then the hops we’re used.
The hop varieties currently used in commercial beer making all belong to the species humulus lupulus and can generally trace their lineage back to Europe where the hop plant was first cultivated.
Sabro is different, though. It belongs to a completely different subspecies of hops that has been quietly growing wild in the mountains of New Mexico for the past million years or so.
While wild hops do exist in North America, they are an introduced species—runaways from the European hops brought here for beer-making.
But Sabro, otherwise known as humulus lupulus var. neomexicanus, is genetically distinct from the European varieties we’re used to, which means it can taste like things other varieties can’t. Like coconut, or mint, or cream, or even cedar, apparently.
Predominantly, though, Sabro trends towards the more tropical side of things. In Trois Bros, Deep Cove, Postmark and Coast Mountain teamed up to create a single-hopped Sabro hazy pale ale, fermented with fruity “Sacc Trois” yeast.
The nose is instantly recognizable as a fruit-forward hazy. Pineapple, passion fruit, peach, the gang’s all there. But flavour-wise, there’s some really interesting things going on. There are definitely coconut notes to this beer. The label describes it as a “piña colada on the beach feel,” and while I think that might be overstating it, it’s not far off.
At any rate, it’s an interesting exploration into this fascinating new hop variety, one that I think we’ll be seeing much more of in the future.
Trois Bros by Deep Cove, Postmark and Coast Mountain
6.0% ABV • 25 IBU • 473 mL tall cans
Appearance: Hazy, deep amber with a fluffy off-white head.
Aroma: Pineapple, tropical fruit, peach.
Flavour: Pineapple, melon, peach, passion fruit, coconut, wheat, cereal, low hop bitterness.
Body/Finish: Light/medium bodied with a dry finish.
Pairs with: Barbecue ribs, shrimp tacos, oversized straw hats and Hawaiian Tropic sun tan oil (SPF 4).