Wit’s End Brewing Company’s new One Series is a study of the hop. The series, which is comprised of three different beers that all use the same yeast and grain bills but each featuring a different hop addition, is a great way for new and experienced beer drinkers alike to taste how a single hop can change the profile of a beer.
Tapped yesterday for Colorado Craft Beer Week, the third beer in the three beer series was brewed exclusively with Cascade hops. The previous two beers each used a different hop – the first incorporated Columbus while the second highlighted the Tettnang variety. The base for all three beers is Rahr two row malt and Wit’s End’s own house yeast. A vertical tasting of all three similar beers in the One Series is available for a limited time at the taproom.
“I used Tettnang, Cascade and Columbus in almost every single beer I make or some kind of combination of at least two or three of those,” said Scott Witsoe, owner of Wit’s End. “For me to showcase just that hop by itself . . . kind of allows me to think of that flavor component in a different way . . . which was really the catalyst behind it (the series) all.”
The idea of using the same yeast and malts is not a new phenomenon. Homebrewers have been creating what’s known as a Single Malt and Single Hop (SMaSH) beers for years, but Wit’s End new series has brought this style of beer to a commercial setting in Denver for beer drinkers who do not have access to a homebrewed SMaSH. Other breweries have experimented with this idea – Mikkeller’s Single Hop series is a great example – but Wit’s End’s One Series is a great way for local Denver drinkers to see how different hops affect the end product without having to purchase multiple bottles to create their own tastings.
The reception from beer geeks and casual drinkers alike has been great, Witsoe said. The beer geeks and brewers (home or pro) can appreciate the isolation of an individual ingredient and exploring how a hop expresses itself. On the other hand, a casual beer drinker who may not have any background with hops other than reading a beer description can come away from the beers with a set of tools to help identify the aromas and flavors of these three hops in their future beers.
“I love to use lots of different malts and that’s one of the things I like to play with in everything I make,” said Witsoe. “So the idea of endeavoring to do a single malt, single hop beer as more of a technical challenge for me not having the specialty malts to play with and really having to focus on technique and process to get as much out of the malt as possible was a big part of the motivation as a brewer.”
When asked if Denver beer drinkers can expect to see the One Series expanded in the future, Witsoe said absolutely. While the future hops have not been finalized, Witsoe mentioned East Kent Golding and Eldorado as potential main stars in the One Series.