4 Hands’ two new releases helping us understand El Dorado Hops

Beer Of The Week

4 Hands’ two new releases helping us understand El Dorado Hops

As a beer lover and not a beer brewer, I arguably have a limited understanding of what hops can do to a beer, the different kinds of hops, and how to really appreciate them. Truthfully I began to consider learning more about hops when 4 Hands introduced their Scale of Complexity series, which really is more of an experiment of making the same base beer, but changing the hops every edition.

In their most recent SOC edition, the brewery chose the El Dorado Hops. They also chose it for the recipe of their newest release Rockmelon Cantaloupe IPA. I decided now was the time to learn about this hops, what it does to beer, and ask 4 Hands’ head brewer Andy Burgio about his decision to go all-in on El Dorado.

The Backstory

The El Dorado hop was released by CLS Farms in the fall of 2010. Since then, it has expanded to 23 partner hop growers in all the major growing regions in the United States: Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Michigan. 

El Dorado hops is a dual-purpose hop with high alpha acids  elicit tropical, stone fruit, watermelon, pear, and hard candy aromas creating some of the juiciest beers on the market. With multiple access points in the market, brewers can purchase El Dorado® hops from over 18 dealers both in the United States and internationally

4 Hands and El Dorado

Although El Dorado has been around as long as the 4 Hands Brewing Company itself, according to head brewer Andy Burgio, Rockmelon and this Scale of Complexity El Dorado are its first foray into using the hops.

“The selection of hops really depends on the inspiration for the beer,” said Burgio. “When a concept for a beer is pitched to the team we then choose hops that will complement that style or bring something new to a style. Other times the hops are the inspiration for the beer.”

The Scale of Complexity series highlights and educates people about the different aromas and flavors of specific hops, not bitterness.  A combination of soft water, malted wheat, and late hop additions create the perfect pallet for that purpose.

“We knew El Dorado would bring tons of juicy stone fruit and citrus notes to the beer,” said Burgio. For Rockmelon, brewers fused the tropical flavors of the El Dorado hops with the cantaloupe adding during fermentation. This led to a juicy, hazy IPA with just enough fruit sweetness for balance. The stone fruit notes enhance the cantaloupe in this new beer.


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4 Hands’ two new releases helping me understand El Dorado Hops

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