When it comes to brewing, not all hops are equal. In fact we go to great lengths to select only the finest hops to brew our beers with – ingredients that make each pint the highest quality it can be.
Our beers use different hops or hopping techniques to create brews which let the natural goodness of the hops shine through. The hops, and they way we use them, mean we can brew beers which range from the full-bodied bitterness of Betty Stogs to the zesty, fruity flavours of Lushingtons and the refreshing aroma of our lager Towans .
We take a look at the hops we brew with and give you a rundown of the best, tell you how we use them and why we choose to brew with them.
As the name suggests this little fella packs a citrus punch. You’d struggle to find a hop that’s so full of fruity flavours as our beloved CitraⓇ – it’s a hop that gives beer a fresh zesty and refreshing aroma. Originating in the USA, CitraⓇ is relatively young as hops go – having been bred for commercial use since the 1990s.
A sip of a beer brewed with CitraⓇ may well give a discerning palette notes of lime, grapefruit, bright orange, mango, lychee, and even a bit of gooseberry. We use the whole flower CitraⓇ hop to create some of our best-loved zesty beers including Lushingtons and Porthleven, giving them a hint of tropical flavour and a refreshing citrus aroma.
Next up is Northdown. It’s a hop that packs a punch and creates brews that are flowery and piney with notes of berry and spice. It’s grown on home soil here in the U.K and was bred way back in the 1970s. It’s a hop that’s often heavily featured in more traditional real ales due to its more earthy qualities.
Northdown is an excellent all-round hop and works well when added to a brew mid-boil. We’re proud to say we use it in our more full-bodied brews including Betty Stogs and Cornish Knocker – it’s what gives them the distinctive cedar notes, floral flavours and bitter tones we’re looking for in proper real ales.
Rakau is filled to the brim with heavyweight oils which gives it an intense aroma and full-on fruity flavours. The hop originated in New Zealand and started being used commercially in the early 1980s when it gained popularity for its fruitiness and rich aroma.
The Rakau hop is often used to brew American pale ales. We use Rakau in our Towans lager which gives it a powerful fruity burst to complement its refreshing, crisp and frothy head.
JesterⓇ and CitraⓇ pellets
Using hops in pellet form creates a more intense hoppy flavour compared with using whole flower hops. Like many breweries, Skinner’s brewer’s now opt to use pellets in some of our beers over whole flower hops which are trickier to store and messier to dry hop with.
Both JesterⓇ and CitraⓇ are full of fruity notes and release an irresistible aroma reminiscent of tropical fruits and citrus tones. To many people’s surprise JesterⓇ is a homegrown hop and when it was first introduced people thought the producers were joking when they said it was English – the very reason why they named it JesterⓇ! When used together these pellets are fantastic for dry-hopping with at the very last stages of our Sennen brew, giving the beer its deliciously hoppy taste with a citrus and grapefruit kick!
So there you go – a brief starter-for-ten in the who’s who of the hop world. We could tell you even more but for now we’ll stick to a handful of our current favourites.
But as you may have guessed it’s not just the raw ingredient that gives Skinner’s beer its distinctive flavours – these hops need to be brewed using the finest Cornish water, malted barley and Skinner’s yeast, plus the skill and expertise of our brewers who continually experiment with new ways to use hops to create a proper pint.
Want to hone your beer-tasting knowledge even more? Order our Beer Trainer Kit online – it contains the tools you need to test your beer tasting knowledge including an aroma wheel, raw ingredients and everything you need to host your own beer tasting evening at home! Or if you find yourselves in Cornwall, pop into the brewery to say hello or join one of our famous Brewery tasting tours.