When the craft beer wave spread from the USA to Germany a few years ago, they were suddenly in the spotlight everywhere – unconventional beers with intense aromas, skillfully produced by adventurous young brewers. As these unusual creations often had a hop- or malt-forward character, the raw materials used in producing them began to attract more attention than ever.
For BarthHaas as a globally operating hop specialist, this provided the opportunity and the inspiration to pass on its expertise on this classic beer ingredient in all its diversity to brewers, beer sommeliers, and interested amateurs and make them fit for the new trend and the associated challenges. This impetus led to the founding of the Hops Academy in 2011.
“Our goal from the very beginning was to make the hop’s complexity and full potential more easily understandable”, explains Dr. Christina Schönberger, the director of the Hops Academy. “Only once they have detailed knowledge about the different uses and effects of hops can creative brewers develop new recipes and brew beers that are outside the norm.”
Over the years, the range of training courses has been improved and expanded more and more, and, in the meantime, various courses have become an established part of the training and further education of brewers, beer sommeliers, and other industry experts. The content of the courses covers all aspects of the hop. The core topics are growing and harvesting, processing, use in the brewery, sensory characteristics, analytics, marketing and, last but not least, sustainability.
The Hops Academy’s flagship is its five-part Hop Flavorist Course in which the participants are immersed deeply into the world of hops. The course focuses on the hop’s sensory and aroma characteristics and on Hopsessed, the tasting language developed by BarthHaas. The Academy’s course offerings also include Hop Flavor Impact Day, Hop Selection, and Harvest Special, as well as a Field Trip to Hallertau.
Since the beginning of the Covid pandemic there has also been an extensive digital training program. The digital campus offers a comprehensive professional training portfolio for brewers, beer sommeliers, and beer enthusiasts worldwide: From guided tastings to courses on recipes, sensory characteristics, harvesting or the market situation.
In the ten years since its foundation, the Hops Academy has provided training and further education in the hop field to more than 6,000 clients. Since the beginning of the Covid pandemic, nearly 3,500 people have attended the various digital courses. Thanks to its large global company network, BarthHaas is able to offer its courses around the world, with 20 of the company’s own specialists passing on their hop expertise.
Please note the photo credit in each case: BarthHaas