Brewers Association (BA) staff will conduct the Hopsource hop sensory assessment in Yakima again in 2021. Brewers and industry members visiting Yakima for hop selection will have the opportunity to evaluate over 20 varieties of hops that are being considered for advancement in the BA-funded United States Department of Agriculture Public Hop Breeding Program.
Informing Public Hop Research
The purpose of Hopsource is to gauge brewer interest in experimental public hop varieties, by harnessing the power of dozens of noses to crowdsource hop variety acceptance. Hopsource is one small part of a very long-term multi-year effort to reinvigorate public hop research. By bridging a persistent gap between brewers and researchers, the ultimate goal is to inform public hop research, with an eye towards releasing varieties of interest to brewers.
How Hopsource Works
Sample Ox, a sensory app developed by Draughtlab, will be leveraged to manage tasting events. The app is free to download and is simple and easy to use. The sensory evaluations are designed to be short and clean, to allow brewers to get in and out quickly during their busy hop selection days in Yakima. Individual participants contribute 8-10 minutes per flight of hop samples, providing descriptive attributes and hedonic “liking” responses, in the easy-to-use phone app.
Yakima Valley Hops will host the event over two days, September 29 – 30, from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM each day. Brewers and industry members who visit Yakima during these weeks for hop selection are invited to attend Hopsource, and encouraged to participate during multiple sessions, as the varieties will change every morning and afternoon.
New This Year
Due to ongoing restrictions related to the pandemic, the varieties available for this year’s assessment will be more selective and represent the most promising lines as indicated by USDA hop breeders. The event will also be limited to just two days in Yakima. Increased health and safety measures will be put in place. Samples will be prepared as single-use and packaged for individual assessment, and unvaccinated participants will be asked to wear masks at Yakima Valley Hops when not conducting a sensory assessment.