Roots Release: Wolf Picker Experimental Pale Ale

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Inspired by our small-batch pilot system, the Roots Release series honors our experimental brewing roots and invites Odell Brewing fans to sample some of our favorites. Each Roots Release can be found in our Montage Variety Packs, which change every season. The Winter-Spring Montage Variety Pack will include three each of 90 Shilling, IPA, Runoff Red IPA, and our newest Roots Release – Wolf Picker Experimental Pale Ale.

Wolf Picker is named in honor of our hop growing community and the harvesting rig many use. Each year’s brew is crafted with the same malt base but with new and unique varieties of hops. Members of our brewing team spend time learning about hop varieties and discussing them with hop growers before deciding on their favorites, which they then use in 5-barrel pilot batches prior to approving them for Wolf Picker. This year’s duo came from the Yakima Valley of Washington, where our brewers visit each year to walk the fields in search of unique hops.

Wolf Picker ’15 (our second in the series) features the experimental HBC (Hop Breeding Company) #472 hop, and the recently reintroduced Comet hop. The two offer a complex and layered hop character that combines hints of grapefruit, lemon, and tangerine in the bright aroma, with a refreshing tropical fruit and citrus hop flavor. Brendan McGivney, Odell Brewing’s head of production, is excited that the Comet hop is back in the mix now that craft brewing has become more experimental, and brewer and agronomist Scott Dorsch agrees. “[Comet] could become the next big craft brewers’ hop.”Johnny hops 5

HBC #472 follows a line of Hop Breeding Company experimental hops that have been tested at Odell Brewing, according to Dorsch.  HBC #369 (now commonly known as “Mosaic”) was featured in Woodcut #6 in 2012 and HBC #366 (now known as “Equinox”) was one of two hops used in the 2013 version of Wolf Picker.
In April 2014, Karl Vanevenhoven of  Yakima Chief and Zach Turner of Hopunion pilot brewed a single hop beer with HBC #472 on the pilot system to create a one-time brew.  The pilot was served in the taproom as “Super Union Chief” and commemorated combining the operations of Yakima Chief and Hopunion in 2014. Now, the hop’s unique characteristics shine in the Roots Release brew.

The Winter-Spring Montage Variety Pack, featuring Wolf Picker ’15, will begin shipping to our 11-state distribution area in late December.