Can you see them? You probably have if you drink enough IPAs. A new introduction to the brewing economy is Yakima Valley’s “Incognito” series of hops. While this post may get a little technical, I will try to keep it as basic as possible.
We all know what hops are (hopefully). Perhaps unbeknownst to the casual beer drinker, often THE limiting factor in how hoppy a brewer can make a beer is the actual hops. Typically, there comes a point in the brewing process where there is so much volume of hops that the beer can begin to take on a vegetable quality. Most people don’t want that, so there is a threshold where the beer stops getting more hop flavor and starts taking on more of the unpleasant flavors.
That may soon become a thing of the past with Incognito hops. Rather than it being just one single hop varietal, like say Citra or Mosaic, it is a technique of producing multiple strains of processed hops. Think of it like a super dose of hops without all the extra hop matter that can get into the beer. Theoretically, it should raise the ceiling for how hoppy we can get our beers. However, a major downside is the $cost$. Here’s an example: while a pound of Citra hops costs about $32, a pound of Incognito Citra hops costs $118!! If you thought four-packs were outrageous now, it may get worse.
Will the juice be worth the squeeze? We will start to see as more beers made with Incognito hops come out. I can tell you now though, there is no shot I am paying $25+ for a four-pack of IPA on a regular basis.