Recently the Maritime Hop Growers Cooperative participated in an exciting sensory (taste testing) exercise at the Acadia University Centre for Sensory Research of Food. It involved a comparison of same beer recipe made from European, American and Nova Scotia hops (Wallace Ridge hops). The purpose was to determine if Nova Scotian hops were comparable to world recognized hops. Furthermore, the results would allow for us to provide breweries with flavour profiles, which should elevate sales of Maritime hops. It will also allow for breweries to produce beer with locally grown hops and thus enhancing consumer demands for locally produced foods and beverages.
The results of the sensory were extremely encouraging. The Mount Hood and Cascade provided the bulk of the research efforts and results. Our hops compared with the foreign hops and actually exceeded the foreign hops in some areas. It was determined that our hops had the same flavour notes when compared with foreign hops. These are very profound and positive findings for our young and emerging trade when compared with proven hop standards.
In addition to the comparability, the sensory results revealed some truly amazing aroma findings. For example, the foreign Mount Hood hops had floral, rain and pine aromas whereas our local Mount Hood hops revealed woody, maple and bark aromas. This uniqueness should have an appeal to consumers and is a testament to our terroir, climate and culture. This is considered a huge finding.
This provincially funded sensory test was a preliminary and exploratory study into the flavour profile of Nova Scotia hops. The results revealed that locally grown hops in the Maritimes do have similar profiles to hops grown around the world. Looking ahead, our hop varieties should be investigated again using hops from different locations to ensure hops’ flavour profiles are being produced consistently. Additionally, other future work should look at new varieties of hops that may offer new flavours and aromas.
Dale A. Bogle