MOVIES & BOOZE: Fancy a beer this weekend?

Dean McGuinness reviews 9 Hop IPA and Piraat Triple Hop

Dean McGuinness joins Joe Donnelly, sitting in for Sean, on this week's Movies & Booze, to take a look at some very hop-infused beers. 

He says, 'Hops, hops, hops – loads of people who are excited about craft beer are excited about hops. To-day’s two beers look at hops in threes, and three times three hops. Our first beer – 9 Hop IPA – is a beer brewed with three times three different varieties of hops. Piraat Triple Hop is using three different hops to give the beer its hop character. We’ll also be looking at how the craft beer revolution has lead to hops being used in ways other than their traditional use as a brewing ingredient'.


Hops are the flowers of the hop plant (‘humulus lupulus’ to give this vine its Latin name). They are one of the four ‘Rheinheitsgebot’ ingredients in beer. In recent times, there is so much talk about hops that it is easy to imagine that hops have been a ‘sine qua non’ when it comes to beer. However, the reality is surprisingly different.

We know that beer has been brewed for about 6,000 years. Hops have only been a feature of brewing for about one sixth of this time. The first recorded use of hops appears to be in the 9th century, and it appears that 1079 was the first mention of hops in German brewing. Some people claim that Henry IV and Henry VIII after him banned the use of hops in brewing – with hops being described as a ‘wicked and pernicious weed’. However, whether this happened, or not is a matter of debate. What we do know is that there were efforts to distinguish between unhopped ‘ale’, which was brewed with herbs and spices and hopped ‘beer’ (the former more commonly brewed in England, and the latter often coming into England from the continent).

Over time, brewers came to realise that hops worked well as an ingredient in beer. They provide bittering flavour in beer – this works to balance the sweetness that can come from malt, and prevents beer from being cloying. To understand this, one should take the opportunity if they get it on a visit to a brewery to taste wort – unfermented beer – before the addition of hops and the boil. The liquid is quite intensely sweet, and it would be difficult to imagine drinking a lot of it. By balancing flavour in beer, hops make beer a much more drinkable affair.

As well as balancing beer with bitterness, hops also provide anti-bacterial qualities in beer which help to preserve it. This fact is often cited as the basis for the development of the ‘IPA’ style – the style loved by craft beer officionados that are sometimes described as ‘hop heads’. By using large quantities of hops in beer being sent to the Indian colonies (and by ensuring that the beer had above average alcohol strength), brewers found that the beer survived the trip better, and the beer was much better enjoyed by the thirsty colonists.

Hops are such a feature of so many craft beers that the style India Pale Ale has now changed its name. There are so many variants of this style – many of them quite different from the original classic India Pale Ale – that the style is now referred to as IPA to distinguish the family of beer styles that fall under this designation. Where India Pale Ale refers to the well-hopped pale ale between about 6% and 8% a.b.v. that originated in the 1700 / 1800’s, ‘IPA’ is now used for a family of beer styles that can include this original classic and many sub-styles such as ‘Black IPA’, ‘Rye IPA’, ‘White IPA’, ‘Belgian IPA’, ‘Session IPA’, ‘American IPA’, ‘Red IPA’, ‘Brown IPA’ ... the list goes on, and will continue to do so as long as craft brewers continue to innovate.

It used to be that I would say that ‘the only known use of hops is an ingredient in brewing beer’. However, the popularity of hops in recent times has made this an inaccurate statement now. We will be tasting hop sweets – boiled sweets using hops as an ingredient. Also, some food oils (Olive Oil, Rapeseed Oil) are now available as hop infused versions – I recently had a delicious cod dish cooked in Rapeseed Oil that was infused with Citra hops.

Our two boiled sweets were recently purchased by me in a home brewing store in Michigan. The first is made using Cascade hops – a variety of hops that is probably best known among all of the hops in America. The second uses a classic ‘Noble’ hop – Saaz – which is known to impart spicy flavours when used in brewing beer.

9 Hop IPA 

Beer Style - Belgian IPA
Alcohol by Volume - 6.0% a.b.v.
Brewed by - Robinson’s Brewery
Brewed in - Cheshire, England

Founded in 1838, Robinson’s brewery is in its sixth generation of family ownership and operation. Robinson’s is well known for the classic ‘old ale’ Old Tom. More recently, they have collaborated with Iron Maiden to brew the immensely successful ‘Trooper’. Their new craft beer range includes a California Common (a style made famous by Anchor Steam) called Brewhouse Steam Lager, and this creative take on the IPA – 9 Hop IPA.

With Cascade and Amarillo hops from America, Celeia hops from Slovenia, Styrian Goldings from Austria, and Fuggles, First Gold, East Kent Goldings, Northdown and Bramling Cross from England, 9 Hop IPA brings the India Pale Ale connoisseur on a tour of hop varieties from across the globe. Sophisticated and initially restrained, as this IPA opens up, flavour comes through. Herbal, woody character evolves into blackcurrant, grapefruit and pine. Spice and pepper develop further in the finish to round out the flavour of this superb IPA.

Piraat Triple Hop 

Beer Style - Belgian IPA
Alcohol by Volume - 10.5% a.b.v.
Brewed by - Brewery Van Steenberge
Brewed in - Ghent, Belgium

Brewery Van Steenberge is well known for a number of beers. Brewers of Celis White, and famous for Gulden Draak, Piraat is another beer for which the brewery is reknowned. The classic Piraat Ale is a Strong Golden Ale on the darker end of the spectrum for this beer. Piraat Triple Hop uses the classic Piraat ale as the base for its recipe, with the extra addition of four hops three times (hence ‘Triple Hop’) in the brewing process.

A blend of Saaz, Tetra and Aurora are used twice in teh brewhouse – as bittering and aroma hops. Cascade is used to dry hop the beer. The result is a more hop-forward beer delivering Belgian funky yeast character but enveloped in a ray of sunshine!

Piraat Triple Hop is more zingy on the nose, with lemon and apricot coming through. There is a roundness to the fruit character from the interplay of hops and yeast which subdues the spice and pushes it to the background. A brighter, crisper cousin to Piraat which is superbly balanced.

Stockists for To-day’s Beers 

Egan's Food and Wine, Portlaoise, Co. Laoise
Joe Smith Bar, Navan, County Meath
The Hole in the Wall, Blackhorse Ave, Dublin 3
Next Door, Meath St, Dublin
O Briens Retail Concepts Ltd, Unit 7, Tyrellstown Town Centre, Tyrellstown, Dublin 15
Cork's Off-Licence, Terenure Road North, Dublin 6W
Deveneys, Rathmines, Dublin
The Vintry, Rathgar
The Lord Mayor Pub and Off-Licence, Swords, County Dublin
Martins Off-licence, Fairview, Dublin 3
Drinks Store, Manor St, Dublin 1
Redmond's of Ranelagh, Dublin
Callans Off-licence, Dundalk, County Louth
Sweeney's Wine Merchants, Phibsboro, Dublin
D 6, Harolds Cross
Holland's, Bray, County Wicklow
Eurospar, Dalkey, County Dublin
Ice Box, Balbriggan, County Dublin
Next Door James St
Probus Wines, Fenian Street, Dublin 2.
The Malthouse, Trim, County Meath
Chill Inn, Ongar, Dublin
Spar Rathoath
Mitchell's Fine Wines, CHQ Building, IFSC, Docklands Dublin1
The High Horse, Market Street, Trim, Co. Meath
O'Dwyers Bar, 118 Lower Kilmacud Road, Stillorgan, Co. Dublin
O'Donovan's Off-Licences
McHughs O/L, Malahide Road, County Dublin
Next Door, Wicklow Town, County Wicklow
Worldwide Wines, Dunmore Rd, Waterford
Carry Out outlets
Coolers Swords
Next Door South Circular Road Dublin 8
Bradley's Supermarket, North Main Street, Cork City
Castle Street Off-Licence, Tralee, Co. Kerry
The Bierhaus, 28 Popes Quay, Cork, CO. Cork
Number 21 Off-Licence, Lismore Park,Waterford
Number 21 Off-Licence, Coburg Street, Cork
Matson's Inns, Douglas, Cork
Eldon's Off-Licence, Clonmel, County Tipperary
Next Door @ Shannon Knights, Skycourt, Shannon, Co Clare
Sheahan's Off Licence, 14 New Street, Killarney, Co. Kerry
Number 21 Off Licence, 2 Upper William Street, Listowel, Co. Kerry
Next Door Youghal, O'Briens Place, Youghal, Co. Cork
Reddy's Off - Licence, 37 Ballybricken, Waterford, Co. Waterford
Next Door Castletroy, Groody Centre, Castletroy, Limerick
Tom Ryan's Bar, Waterford
Saba Baggot Street, 22 Upper Baggot Street, Dublin 2
Dwan's Spar, Ballycullen, Dublin 16
Next Door, Kilcoole, County Wicklow
Foleys Off-licence, Sligo
Blackrock Cellars Off-Licence, Blackrock, County Dublin
The Wine Centre, U 12 Kilkenny Retail Park, Springhill, Kilkenny, Co. Kilkenny
L. Mulligans Grocers, Stoneybatter, Dublin 7
Maguires Athlone
Kavanagh's Off-Licence, Dorset Street, Dublin 1
Sky and Ground Wexford
Bleeding Horse, Camden Street, Dublin 2
Bruxelles, 7-8 Harry Street, Dublin 2
Salt House, Ravens Terrace, Galway, Co. Galway