Reaching the Summit

This is second in a series of posts about lesser known hops that we'll be featuring in our upcoming Hops class Most of us have at least heard of Summit, and the obligatory follow-up question is always the same, "Isn't that the garlicky one?" Last time I wrote about a hop which seemingly had no reputation to precede it, so I figured this time it would be fun to talk about a hop which has a reputation that it just can't seem to escape. First off, pop open an ounce of summit, give it a sniff and yes, there is very clearly a garlicky aroma. However, this hop has a lot to offer. A low trellis hop that shows its parentage well, it gets some of its herbaceous notes from Nugget and its citrus and resinous qualities from Zeus. It is celebrated as being quite clean for bittering with relatively low cohumulone comparative to its alpha acids. Summit's oil content makes it very desirable as a late or dry addition. As a flavor hop it imparts a certain juicy tangerine quality. The aroma is also notably citrusy, specifically orange peel, and somewhat earthy to resinous/hemp-like. It fits well into the pantheon of American citrus hops and can be used in conjunction with any of them with great success. I don't get a ton of the garlic when I taste it, but there is a hint of onion (more specifically red onion) to me. Some people seem to be more sensitive to those qualities than others (kind of in the same way that some folks love cilantro while others find it inedible.), but I wouldn't describe it as unpleasant. Overall, I'd say that Summit is a hop that demands a degree of thoughtfulness and a subtle hand in use. It is definitely not an all-purpose hop that works however you use it (e.g. Mosaic) and while I wouldn't suggest it for a single hop beer, I would readily use it in just about any west coast IPA. I'd also happily find a place for it in a vegetable/spiced beer (like our very own Blood Red Beet Ale). Hell, I intend to toss an ounce or two into the 10% American IPA I have going right now, and I look forward to ya'lls feedback come the next swap. If you still find yourself a little leery about using Summit in your next brew, just pick up a can of Oskar Blues' Gubna Imperial IPA, and see what you think. As a commercial example I can't think of a beer that better exemplifies what you can expect from this incredibly interesting hop. Bobby B Bobby Bendily
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