Worthy Brewing

Hop Star

By in Hop Star 0

Launching Soon — Worthy Hop Star IPA

When Worthy opened it’s doors in 2013, we made a promise: we will bring new and exciting hop flavors to the pint glass. We won’t bring sand to the beach, we said.

The confidence in our mission was emboldened by our owner’s investment in the Aroma Hop Breeding Program at Oregon State University. Earlier, in 2009, Roger Worthington and Jim Solberg launched Indie Hops, which in turn created and funded the pioneering program in Corvallis.

It turns out breeding hops takes time — especially if you want those hops to have high disease resistance, reliable agronomics, robust yields, and unique and tasty flavors.

It’s been a slow ride, but we’re getting there. Over the past few years, we’ve been fortunate enough to pilot brew with experimental hops that have emerged from the breeding program. Some have passed the taste test and moved up the ladder for more testing, only to be scrapped later because the yields were irreparably low, or they were prone to unmitigable disease.

Without a doubt, hop breeding and selection favors the strong and the tasty.  It’s all or nothing. A winning commercially viable new hop has to score an A across the board.  At the same time, a lot of great aroma hops which did not make the agronomic cut were still taste worthy.

We want to bring the best tasting x-hops to you, whether they make the final cut or not.  Our delivery system? Worthy Hop Star IPA.  The star of the show, after all, is the hop, whether a stand-alone wonder, like Strata, or a blend of good-to-great hops that together build a gold medal beer.

Throughout the year we will pilot test brews using x-hops in combination with proven performers. We will also use hop blends with proven and up-and-coming “Unobtanium” hops in the pursuit of that amazing new and mouthwatering flavor. Our goal will be to source as many x-hops as available from the OSU-Indie Hops aroma breeding program.

Hop Star will show variations from batch to batch, but overall the brilliant hop flavors will shine through. We will rely on a number of workhorse hops to provide a citrusy flavor and aroma baseline.

We’ll share some of our secrets, and let you know the x-hops in your beer with a link on the packaging. We welcome your feedback, which we will happily share with our hopped up friends at OSU and Indie Hops.

Worthy Hop Star IPA will land in stores in fall 2018 as a 6-pack bottle. Draft versions will arrive this summer.

Hop Star will not bring sand to the beach. Each pint will contain a fresh new flavor, in addition to a whole lot of patience and testing. With a little luck, it may also launch a new star in the constellation of worthy beers.

By in Hop Star, Perle, X-331 0

In Hop Pursuit:  A 7th Year Progress Report

Wed, 26 Oct 2016 18:55:00

Here’s a fun story.

Not sure about the ending.

But it’s looking good.

Back in 2009, my hometown buddy Jim Solberg and I decided to build a hop company.  Our goal was to bring new flavors to your beer pint glass.

We built a pellet mill that specialized in preserving the lupulin glands, the happy place from which the flavor flows. And we partnered with OSU to breed new aroma hops.

At the time, Oregon hop acreage was nearing it’s historical lows. Our goal was to help Oregon hop farmers return to those days of glory 70 years ago when our state cultivated 30,000 acres.

Fast forward seven years. Thanks to our farm partners, our scientific advisors at OSU, a small army of brewers, and the Willamette Valley’s hop-hearty pollen rich atmosphere, we are pleased to report the rise of a budding prospect: X-331. Our little darling is the offspring of a German Maiden, Perle, and an open-pollinated Rogue Oregon Hop Stud.

Worthy introduced X-331 in our recent LookOut Freshop. Our customers noted it’s dank aroma, reminiscent of weed, and it’s tropical fruit forward flavor, with notes of passion fruit and mango.

Back in 2011, when Jim first gave X-331 a rub and a sniff, his eyes closed and he went back to his days of youth roaming through the Corvallis countryside, feasting on blackberries and plucking the low hanging fruit, all the while entranced by the omnipresent aroma of “Indian Tobacco.”  You know, the kind of day you wish would never end.

Our brewers liked it so much we’re working on a new beer, which we’ll call Hop Star, featuring X-331.  We’ll be experimenting with this new “one hop wonder” in the next three pilot batches from our Heart & Soul Series. Stay tuned. We’d love your feedback.

Meanwhile, if you’re interested in hop breeding, take a look at this powerpoint here.  You’ll share our pride in noting that since 2010:

  • Total hop acreage in production in Oregon has increased 65.92%.
  • The total hop yield in pounds in Oregon has increased 42.55%.
  • Using traditional breeding techniques, in six years IH-OSU has evaluated over 1,500 new genotypes and advanced over 15 new genotypes into advanced nurseries at two farms in the Valley. The future is bright.

In the end, to build anything new and valuable, it takes a village. Worthy is grateful to Indie Hops, OSU, Goschie Farms, Coleman Farms, and all of the wonderful, smart and eager brewers who over the years have stepped up to help us narrow down the field of over 10,000 seeds a year to the 4 or 5 keepers that might one day, with a little bit of good luck, wind up in your pint glass.


RG Worthy