New & Highest Alpha Hops to be Released This Year

01 April 2009

I broke the news locally last season about the new Citra strain of hops coming out, but this new hop strain is bigger or should I say "higher." The Northwestern-States Hops Council announced this week a new and unique strain of hops insiders have named KP1. What makes KP1 unique is the high alpha level, reportedly over 15 in the initial test strain, but what makes KP1 even more unique is the unusual growing & feeding process used to create it.

With 2 years of research and over 120 dedicated acres in the Yakima Valley of Washington state, growers of KP1 have capitalized on an unusual partnership. Tinkelle Hop Farms in conjunction with a 1.25 million dollar grant from the Degeneres Foundation, have successfully grown their first test crops of KP1.

Tinkelle Hop Farms owner Martin Ebisa explains that the premise for KP1 came from a beer tasting event and from his wife's love of animals. After Martin heard northwest brewers describing their IPA's and DIPA's as a hop flavor so citrusy that it had hints of ammonia or cat urine it triggered an idea. This idea apparently was the genesis for KP1.

With their generous grant in hand Tinkelle Hop Farms has partnered with 85 statewide SPCA branches to collect a unique....well lets just say "fertilizer." With the partnership in place, the grant money is used to feed over 400 stray cats a unique citrus-based diet and to ultimately collect the cat-based urine fertilizer, which is then injected in low dose into the irrigation system for the KP1 crops. As part of the project one local SPCA chapter even allows their shelter cats to roam the fields at Tinkelle, making (or should I say marking) their own "contribution" in person.

So what does this meant to the beer lover? Quite simply....bigger IPA's, well beyond the alpha levels of even our highest alpha content hops like Nugget, Tomahawk or Warrior. Growers are citing an initial test alpha over 15 and brewers are listening. Currently 3 west coast brewers and 2 very prominent east coast breweries are already planning out brews capable of handling this new high-alpha hop, AND agreeing to donate part of their profits to local SPCA shelters around the country.

Finally, a little insider info. Look for one east coast brewer to create what he plans to call KP-IPA and KP-DIPA exclusively using KP1. So tune up your taste buds and watch for KP1 brews to hit the market soon.

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