Schlafly Beer, the largest, locally owned brewery in St. Louis, announces today the launch of a new educational website for hop-head craft beer drinkers with Hoptrials.com. Every six weeks, the brewery releases a new rotating SMaSH beer, a single hop, single malt beer where the hop is the only changing variable, in their brewpubs. Consumers are encouraged to share their feedback of the beer on the brewpub’s Hop Trial board or now online with the new site. In addition to tasting notes, intrigued Hop Trial beer drinkers can learn even more about the hop’s origin, the brewery’s relationship with the farm, and more.

CEO James Pendegraft explains, “In our 25-year history, we’ve established some deep relationships with hop farmers around the world. We work directly with the farmers who grow our ingredients, and we’re often asked by hop growers to provide feedback about how a hop performs in the brewing process. Our Hop Trial program allows consumers to have a say in the hop as well.”

For the Hop Trial SMaSH beers, Schlafly brewers use the same amount of hops in each brew (32 pounds), add the hops at the same brewing time and use the same malt. This allows the brewing team to isolate the changes in the beer from the hop. For example, this month’s trial is of X331, a hop from the Willamette Valley in Oregon. The Schlafly team discovered the hop on their yearly trip to the Pacific Northwest to visit the Indie Hops group. The X331 hop is grown on the Goschie farm where the focus is on growing hops the most organic way possible. Head of Brewing Operations, Emily Parker, felt the hop would be great to trial due to its strong tropical fruit and citrus characteristics. “The hops smelled like juicy fruit. I knew that we had to trial it just based on its aroma.”

Once the beer is brewed, consumers are invited to think like a brewer and share their tasting notes on aroma and taste based on four hop characteristics: resin, floral, fruit and spice. Now, they can submit their thoughts on HopTrials.com and the feedback will be shared, along with the brewers’ notes, directly to the farmers.

In addition to the rotating brewpub draft offerings, Schlafly also releases a Hop Trial sampler pack every summer that allows consumers to compare SMaSH beers from four very different hops. Pendegraft elaborates, “We found that last year, consumers were conducting their own mini-tastings at home–discerning the different flavors and aromas from each of the Hop Trial beers. It adds a fun, educational component to the standard sampler pack experience.”

To learn more about the Hop Trial program, visit hoptrials.com. Upcoming trials will include: Bullion, Monroe, Relax, Sorachi Ace and Sterling.