Experimentation with Terroir - An Origin Story

Experimentation with Terroir - An Origin Story

Everyone loves an origin story, which in this case is both relevant to the birth of our new Experimental Series as well as the origin(s) of the hops that we used to kick it all off. Terroir is a French term that refers to the specific geographical and environmental characteristics, such as soil, climate, topography, and even cultural practices, that give a certain food or drink its unique flavour and qualities. Let's start there.
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Terroir is the sense of place that climate, soil, elevation, and other factors particular to any given patch of earth can impart on that which it grows.
The impact of terroir on beer is significant—and it may come as a surprise to some that it can be decidedly perceptible in hops, influencing the flavour, aroma, and bitterness, ultimately shaping the beer that they are used to brew.

Our brewing journey at Hawkers has always felt somewhat incomplete in the fact that despite us living and brewing in one of the world's greatest cities, we simply have limited access to one of our favourite ingredients—hops. Our desire to connect the passage from land to glass seemed to fall short as we struggled to gain access to hop farmers. Whether it was our small size limiting our ability to "select" hops from the USA or producers limiting access to farther corners of the world like Australia and in New Zealand, we always felt frustrated in our efforts to fully express the uniqueness of each ingredient.

The world is a different place today and we have built strong partnerships over the time we have been brewing. We are proud call on our friends at Yakima Chief Hops, Freestyle Hops, Clayton Hops, Charles Faram & Co LtdEllerslie Hop Estate, and others to complete that link. Our journey has finally led us to here.

Welcome to our Experimental Series.

Sheer Terroir is the leading foray into our Experimental Series. This is our space to explore, experiment, express, and understand the fundamental ingredients of beer in as methodical, measurable way we can—in this case, the perceptible effect of terroir on hops. It is a welcoming space and a shared journey; a journey intended to facilitate the connection between the farmers and growers and you, the drinker.

The first beer in this series is an exploration of Citra® Hops with our partners Yakima Chief, and the three families of growers from Oregon, Washington, and Idaho. We wanted to explore the vastly different characteristics of the same hop when it is grown under vastly different conditions by people who are as passionate about hops as we are about expressing them in our beers.

Citra® hops were first developed under the designation HBC 394 by the Hop Breeding Company in Yakima, Washington in 2008. They are a cross between a Neomexicanus hop and a Hallertau Mittlefrüh hop. The Neomexicanus hop is a wild hop that is native to the western United States, while the German native Hallertau is one of the 4 noble hops.

In brewing terms, Citra hops are considered a "dual-purpose" hop, meaning they can be used both for bittering and for aroma. Citra is known for its high levels of alpha acids, which contribute to the bittering of beer but also has a relatively low cohumulone content, which gives a smoother, less harsh bitterness compared to other hop varieties. Citra's main aroma and flavour compounds are myrcene, citronellol, and geraniol, giving it its tropical and citrusy character.

The three hop lots we selected and a little introduction to each farmer is below.

Enjoy the journey!

Citra – P91-HUCIT7065 – Jackson Hop, LLC in Wilder, Idaho.

Jackson Hop
Founded: 2008
Base: Wilder, Idaho, United Sates
Owned by Nate Jackson

Jackson Hop is a 1st generation hop farm in Wilder, ID. Owned by Nate Jackson, who operates a hop breeding program that developed the Idaho 7® variety. Jackson Hop offers a diverse array of varieties and organic hops as well. Their farm overcame a significant challenge when their facility burned down to the ground in 2012 at the end of harvest. Within one year, Jackson rebuilt and persevered forward in time for the next harvest season. A testament to the family’s determination and grit.

Grower Profile Video: https://youtu.be/ttAH-9-WU4k

Radar sensory chart - P91-HUCIT7065

Radar sensory chart - P91-HUCIT7065


Citra – P91-HUCIT7042 – Tributary Hop Farms in Granger, Washington.

Tributary & B.T. Loftus Ranches
Founded: 1932 (Loftus) / 2015 (Tributary)
Base: Moxee, Washington, United States
Owned by Mike & Patrick Smith

Like many families in the 1920s, the Loftus family traveled to Moxee, Washington in pursuit of work on the railroad, but instead began farming a variety of crops and livestock. As Moxee and the greater Yakima Valley transformed into a notable hop growing community, B.T. and Leota Loftus established the family’s hop farm on nine acres in 1932. Today, the family tradition is continued by third and fourth generation hop farmers, Mike and Cheryl Smith and their son, Patrick. “Hops and farming get in your blood,” says Patrick, “we can’t imagine doing anything else.” In 2015, the family expanded their hop-growing operations to the Lower Yakima Valley, establishing Tributary Hop Farms just across the Yakima River from the town of Granger.

With sustainability and environmental responsibility embedded in their core values, Loftus Ranches has installed one of the largest private solar generation projects in the state of Washington, accounting for over 80% of their facility’s electric consumption. They grow multiple hop varieties, including HBC experimental varieties, and maintain robust GlobalG.A.P., Green Chief®, and Salmon Safe farming certifications.

Loftus Ranches enjoys building genuine connections with brewers and experiencing a shared passion for hops and innovation through creative beers. They look forward to expanding with the industry and continuing to invest in its growth for many years to come.

Grower Profile Video: https://youtu.be/ttAH-9-WU4k

Radar sensory chart - P91-HUCIT7042

Radar sensory chart - P91-HUCIT7042


Citra- P91-HUCIT7192 – Coleman Agriculture, Gervais, Oregon.

Coleman AG
Founded: 1847
Base: St. Paul, Oregon, United States
Owned by: Ben, Jen, Tom & Melissa Coleman

The Coleman family is one of the original hop farming families of Western Oregon. They manage one of the most diverse hop farms in the Willamette Valley with more than 2,000 acres harvested. In addition, Coleman Agriculture manages another 5,000 acres of crops including Hazelnuts, grass seed, green beans, wheat and more. Tom and Ben are steeped in hop tradition pulling from a family history with hundreds of years of farming experience. The entire Coleman Agriculture team works diligently to leave the land and business as a better place to benefit future generations.

Grower Profile Video: https://youtu.be/ttAH-9-WU4k

Radar sensory chart - P91-HUCIT7192

Radar sensory chart - P91-HUCIT7192