BKS uses a novel new hop concentrate to make a standout West Coast IPA.

Photography by Caleb Condit & Rebecca Norden.

With hops, more isn’t more. The bittering agent in beer balances the sweetness of cereal grains with flavors like citrus and pine, giving IPAs and pale ales their bite. But as hops quantities go up, undesirable grassy and vegetal off-notes tend to overwhelm their fresh, resinous bite.

For the past decade or so, IPAs have outsold every other craft beer style combined, leading to an arms race between brewers who want to make the hoppiest hoppy beer. New beers from BKS Artisan Ales in Brookside are using the latest and greatest tech, a product called “hop kief.” This month, look for a few beers using hop kief made from Nelson Sauvin hops.

Like the cannabis product it’s named for, the hop kief is a concentrated hop oil. In February, I had Current Past, a West Coast IPA made with Motueka variety hops. It’s maybe the single best beer I’ve ever tasted in Kansas City—delicate but robust flavors of lime zest and tangerine with kisses of pine and fresh-picked flowers.

The product’s maker, Freestyle, is also the hop farmer. Freestyle offered a handful of top hoppy breweries around the world a chance to play with the product, including BKS, which has won national recognition for its hazy IPAs. The concentrate is “flowable,” meaning it’s liquid at room temperature and can be poured into the wort to provide crisp, clean bittering. Current Past, the clear West Coast IPA I was blown away by, was dry-hopped with Strata, Mosaic and Centennial. “We’ve never smelled or tasted bold yet soft and elegant hop character like that in any beer,” says brewer-owner Brian Rooney. Same here. I’m already excited for the next batch.  

Social Media

Get The Latest Updates

Subscribe to our newsletters

No spam, notifications only about new products, updates.