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The Secret of Hops is Malt

Mark Hastings of Überbrew argues that the selection and combination of hops varieties isn't the end-all, be-all of brewing hoppy styles. The real magic is finding the right malt and yeast combination that pulls the best character out of those hops.

Jamie Bogner Oct 25, 2017 - 9 min read

The Secret of Hops is Malt Primary Image

Billings, Montana’s Überbrew might be a new name for some—their dramatic performance at 2016’s Great American Beer Festival, which included 4 medals (including gold in the hotly contested Imperial IPA category) and “Small Brewer of the Year” honors, caught a lot of people by surprise—but winning medals is nothing new for Head Brewer and Cofounder Mark Hastings. He won his first gold for Sharptail Pale Ale back in 1998 while working for Montana Brewing Company, then scored a second gold for Tumbleweed IPA in 2001 while brewing for Sleeping Giant Brewing Company (both in Billings, Montana).

Hastings left the brewing world for a number of years, but when local Billings homebrewer Jason Shroyer found out that Hastings, then managing a pizza joint, was a multiple GABF medal winner, he started bringing him homebrew for feedback. “I went through a ten-year hiatus,” says Hastings. “A dark period where I wasn’t brewing beer.”

Eventually, a friendship was struck, plans were formed, funding was lined up, and five years ago Überbrew started making beer with Hastings manning the kettle and Shroyer managing the business.

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Jamie Bogner is the Cofounder and Editorial Director of Craft Beer & Brewing Magazine®. Email him at [email protected].