In this post, we’re diving into our evaluation of Vista Hops. Mike and I brewed a SMaSH beer (Single Malt and Single Hop) to really get to know this hop variety. For those who are new to our channel, this is a staple of what we do: exploring different hops through simple one-gallon batches. Vista Hops caught our attention, especially with its background and intriguing descriptors. Let’s see what the beer revealed!

Brewing Process

For this SMaSH beer, we kept things straightforward with our usual one malt, one hop approach. We used two pounds of Rahr 2-row pale malt as our base malt. The hop in the spotlight was Vista, purchased from our friends at Northern Brewer. Although the alpha acid percentage wasn’t listed on the packet, our research indicated it ranged between 11-12%.

Our hop additions were as follows: an eighth of an ounce (about 3.5 grams) at the 60-minute mark, the majority during the whirlpool stage (17.5 grams), and a final dry hop of 7 grams with three days left in fermentation. We used US-05 yeast, spring water with a touch of gypsum, and let the fermentation take place at room temperature for a week. After a quick carbonation period of three days, we were ready to taste and analyze.

Our Vista Hops Evaluation

Flavor and Aroma Profile

Upon first sniff, the Vista Hops presented a predominantly floral aroma. Mike and I noticed hints of pine, spice, and a subtle earthiness. The aroma lacked the expected fruity sweetness, leaning more towards a floral, almost geranium-like profile. There were slight notes of citrus and a faint vanilla-like essence that added an interesting complexity.

In terms of flavor, the beer was consistent with its aroma. It had a floral dominance with underlying earthy and resinous qualities. There were faint fruity undertones, but nothing distinctly identifiable. We noticed a mild citrus pith in the aftertaste, but the standout characteristics were more herbal and floral rather than fruity or sweet.

Final Thoughts

Vista Hops turned out to be a bit of a puzzle. According to Yakima Valley Hops, Vista was described as having stone fruit, citrus, tropical fruit, and floral qualities. Our experience leaned heavily towards the floral and herbal side, with only minimal hints of the fruitier notes. It’s possible that the homebrew market hop lots don’t always align with what commercial lots, which could explain our differing impressions.

While Vista may not be ideal for hop-forward IPAs, it has potential in more traditional ale styles. It could complement English ales or stouts, adding a unique twist to those brews. If you’re experimenting with different hops, Vista is worth trying, but perhaps not as a primary hop for your most flavor-driven creations.

Cheers and BREW ON!