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Hops and Spirits Come Together In The Distillery

on 08/02/13 at 10:53 am

Booze News

imagesFor years, the craft-beer and craft-distilling movements have toiled away at their parallel but separate efforts. Now the two have a shared enthusiasm to talk about.

Hops, the plants that give beers their bitter edge and much of their aroma — and the favorite plaything of hop-happy brewers — have been adopted by a handful of American distillers as the predominant flavor note in a number of new spirits.

Charbay, the hypercreative Napa Valley winery and distillery, has produced hopped whiskeys; so have Corsair, in Tennessee, and New Holland Brewing, in Michigan. Charbay’s California neighbor, the Anchor Distilling Company, has its Hophead, which it calls “the world’s first vodka distilled from hops.” And this spring, New York Distilling Company in Brooklyn will introduce a gin flavored not only with juniper but also with hops.

For each product, the hops are introduced at different points in the distilling process, but the liquors share an aggressive, spicy pungency. As in beer, hops in spirits are no wallflowers.