In the American Craft Brewing Industry the hop frenzy has spread from the west coasts at Sierra Nevada all the way to the east coast at Dogfish head. Beer drinkers all across the world now are calling themselves “Hop Heads”; because of course it is the use of hops that creates such a robust bitter flavor and feeling in the beer. An International Bitter Unit (IBU) is a universal means of measuring how bitter a beer actually is – and now there is a new big daddy of bitter on the street.
Previously, Founders Brewing’s Devil Dancer Tripple IPA held the record for most bitter beer with a special edition brewed to 200 IBUs. But the British have stepped back in the ring to claim the title from the Americans for bitterest beer; Peter Fouler, owner and brewer at Pitshop Brewing in the UK, has created a beer called “The Hop” with a measured 323 IBUs!
Now, to put this into perspective, the Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA, a beer with substantial bitterness, has 60 IBUs. The Toegs Nugget Nectar Ale is at 93 IBU, Rock Art Vermonster at 100, and the Rogue Old Crustacean Barleywine has 110. 323 IBUs is a massive step and I have no idead what The Hop will taste like. I expect it will be bitter.
In order to create a beer with 323 IBUs Fowler brewed The Hop with Simcoe, Centennial and Chinnok hops, as well as adding Isolone hop extract to preserve the extreme bitter. Fowler is confident that some American Brewery will step up and beat his beer, however he is already prepared to battle for bitterness supremacy.
Although this is all fun and games, I think that brewers should focus on making delicious beers rather than trying to set records. But as long as no one stops making delicious beer, have fun!