We offer a diverse range of hop varieties that cover a wide spectrum of hop flavors, aromatics, and bitterness. Our own hop development program was launched in 2009, so that we’d be able to offer unique and exciting hops to the market in addition to our USDA offerings. Strata is the first hop from our program, launched into the market from our 2018 crop. A new age has begun, and we’re excited!
We also focus on USDA “public” varieties that are proven performers in beer and at the farms. The hops we offer are grown under contract directly with farms, and we’re in the fields frequently to evaluate progress and participate in harvest maturity decisions.
NEW INDIE HOPS
Strata, formerly known as X-331, is Indie Hops’ first hop variety to be released out of our breeding program. Born in 2009, Strata is the progeny of an open pollinated Perle located in an Oregon State experimental hop yard. From the get-go, this hop was out to impress. Between its strong disease resistance, vigorous growth habit, and complex layers of aroma, x331 rose to the top of an impressive group of competitors.
In 2011, we attempted to revive the variety “Columbia,” a full sister to Willamette. Not widely grown, we thought this overlooked variety might find favor with craft brewers, so planted a field. The first harvest (2012) brought us hops that clearly were not in the aroma/flavor genre of Columbia, and genetic testing confirmed this. Turns out the plant material we propagated from was of unknown origin and had taken over hills thought to be Columbia. The good news is, this unknown hop carried alluring brewing qualities, yet we knew nothing about it! A “trial” phase was in order. Despite brewer interest, we had to contain the hop while evaluating for disease resistance and consistent character. By 2015 we were convinced of the hop’s stability and began to expand under the trade name Meridian.
CONTRACT, OR "SPOT"?
Forward contracting hops is the best way to secure supply and ensure quality via post harvest selection. But you’re obligated to the hops, and how far into the future can you predict your beer sales and specifc ingredients needs? Some of us aren’t even sure of what happened yesterday! Each brewery needs to determine how to manage their future supply risks, based on their evolving business. What is the right balance between forward contracting and “spot” purchasing for you? Yes…good question.
We offer forward contracts and “spot” hops. Forward contracts help us balance future inventory, so we offer volume discounts to customers who are able to commit to bulk volumes from a future crop. We try to keep inventory available for post harvest “spot” ordering, based on where we feel demand is heading for any given hop variety.