Hop Water: Capturing the Essence

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Two glasses, one filled with hops and the other with seltzer

This article originally appeared in the March/April 2024 issue of Zymurgy Magazine

By Cody Gabbard

Despite lagging sales trends in craft beer, non-alcohol hopped seltzer water (aka hop water) is experiencing massive growth. According to figures published by NielsenIQ, off-site sales toward the end of 2022 reached over $5.5 million and more than doubled in the past two years (up 143.5 percent). Compared with craft beer styles (e.g. American lager, hazy American pale ale) it would have been the fifth-largest growing style. Whether or not this trend continues its current trajectory, hop water has certainly made its way, as both craft and national brands, to your local taproom. At the time of this article’s submission at the end of 2023, the popular homebrew experiment website Brülosophy had already published no fewer than five “exbeeriments” on hop water. On a personal note, I had initially shrugged the product off as a passing fad. However, on a recent trip to Asheville, N.C. I picked up a sixer of Sierra Nevada’s Hop Splash, both out of curiosity and as an alternative means of hydration in between visits to the plethor of breweries. When I first cracked open a can, I was met with a burst of familiar aromas…citrus, fresh grass, herbs. Being an amateur zymologist, my next inclination was of course, “I have to make this.”

So what makes a good hop water? And furthermore, how do you recreate those favored characteristics?

Access the full article in the March/April 2024 Zymurgy magazine.

This article includes the following:

  • HOMEBREW RECIPE: Quick & Cool Hop Water
  • HOMEBREW RECIPE: Lupula Croix
  • Evaluating commercially available hop waters
  • Tasting guidelines
  • Water and pH
  • Hop selection and additions
  • Additives and other ingredients
  • Carbonation

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