The Hop Studio
Through every iteration of our growth over the last demi-decade, whether it was those first ever Loka Polly two-hop showcases that eventually evolved into the Originals range, through the Augment range still carrying the brewery on its shoulders and soldiering on today, to the more recent Core and Icons ranges joining our output here at Polly’s, one thing that has persisted throughout. Our love of hops. From this we’ve born an entire business that now looks after the livelihoods of fourteen team members.
When we held a creative meeting toward the back end of 2022, we had it in mind that we wanted to introduce another bespoke range to run alongside our current offerings. How to specifically angle this range was proving to be more problematic than we initially thought. It was over the course of several meetings between our design team, as well as our brewing and sales team that we figured that the easiest way to find the missing link in our output was to break the existing Polly’s ranges down into each of their fundamental selling points:
- The Augment Range – Premium beers, hopped to a higher than standard rate, with experimental styles littered throughout. All about upping the ante on what we believe to be possible with our beers, whether that’s via our well-trodden pale and hoppy path, a fruited sour, or a big decadent stout.
- The Core Range – All about accessibility. Brewed to exactly the same specification as all of our other beers, but priced a little more handsomely for the curious drinker taking their first tentative steps into the world of craft beer.
- The Icons Range – Our greatest hits compilation if you will. The highest rated and most sought after of our back catalogue from the Augment range to enjoy again and again. Timeless Polly’s beers that we and our customers love that we can brew frequently and are worth that extra little bit of money.
So we’ve got the breakdown of each here, and all the idiosyncrasies that form each respective branch. We noted that amongst all of this though, there’s no real showcase of singular hops on their own. As a brewery that prides itself on its love of hops, this was a gaping hole. We feel it is our responsibility to share experiences and journeys for drinkers of all walks of life – whether it’s a newly introduced craft beer drinker enamoured in that mind blowing experience with their first Citra-hopped beer, all the way up to the seasoned beer nerds actively seeking the newest HBC number released from the States. This is where the genesis of what ultimately became the Hop Studio came from – our own love of hops and a want to share our love with single hop showcases to display the sometimes very subtle, sometimes very overt differences between these incredible varietals.
Now that we had the core idea of what we wanted this range to be, we tasked our brewers with utilising a brewing technique that we felt would best display these aforementioned idiosyncrasies unique to each of these hops. SMaSH brewing was something we had always been aware of, but as a largely hop-forward, modern leaning brewery, we tend to maintain very nailed on spec of pale malt, wheat, and oats in order to add the correct amount of body we feel our New England-influenced beers should have. Given that we’re heading down a slightly different path with this range, we felt a single-hop, single-malt approach to brewing, specifically using Golden Promise – a malt a touch sweeter than our standard Extra Pale – was the best way to go about presenting something different to the table. We’d still wrap everything up in our own bespoke LA3 yeast – a strain we use specifically for its propensity for accentuating juicy hop flavours, maximum suspension within the beer itself, and bringing a fruit-forward ester profile to the party – so the presentability of the beer is still firmly Polly’s, however the beer would be about one thing only; the hops themselves.
Alright, so we’ve got the liquid nailed down, now how about the design of the labels? With the benefit of hindsight, the Originals range – the long departed range that carried us through our first twelve months, then ran alongside the Augment range before being quietly retired – was always what we envisioned this Hop Studio range would be. However, we just didn’t have the brewing resources or experience at that time. Keeping this in mind, we’ve deliberately leant heavily on the design of that Originals range for a spark of nostalgia, but with a 2023 facelift on everything to keep things flush and tidy. That bold Polly’s Brew Co logo is back with a vengeance and is repping our Hop Studio range into the future and beyond.
So what do we have to launch with? We’re going big to start proceedings off – three incredible IPAs hopped with one of the most sought after varietals in the world in Galaxy, new school favourite Talus, and the incredible Strata. Finally, we’re rounding things off with a pale ale hopped with a classic but new to Polly’s New Zealand varietal Wai-iti. We at the brewery are incredibly excited to bring these beers to you, and hope they can help aid on your journey to understanding the incredible quirks and features of the most wonderfully complex ingredient we use in our brewing process, bar none.
Cheers, looking forward to trying it at the bar with you.