The story of URB originates at the Craft Brewers Conference in Portland in 2015. Doug and I went to the conference to meet suppliers of brewing equipment and construction services for our in-development brewery. The Craft Brewers Conference occurs every year, and has a ridiculous number of vendors of every product and service imaginable for the brewing industry. In addition to equipment, we were also looking for suppliers of ingredients like hops and malt. They were all there, and they were providing samples!
Another wonderful discovery I made at the conference is that not only did the ingredient suppliers have raw examples of what they sold, but they also were pouring beers using their ingredients. I hadn’t been to a tradeshow where beer flowed so freely, but I can confirm it was an absolute delight for many reasons (mainly drinking beer while strolling around a trade-show floor). Seriously though, it is nice to be able to try hops you may want to purchase in the future, so we did a fair amount of sampling.
One of the hops that stood out for a couple reasons was BRU-1, a hop moving from experimental status to general availability. Doug and I gave it a try at the booth where it was available, and agreed that it was quite tasty (lots of pineapple and grapefruit notes, plus a bit of spice). We noted it, and agreed we’d try and get some in the future. As we walked away from the booth a gruff older gentlemen called out to us, “what are you guys drinking?!” We were both a little surprised as it was a bit unusual to get accosted on the tradeshow floor and we tentatively responded, “BRU-1?”
“What do you think of it?” came the response. We said it was quite good, and that we’d probably try and get some in the future. And with that the old farmer let out a hearty laugh and said, “good, I’m from Brulotte farms and we made that hop!” We all had a good laugh and moved on to the next booth (and probably another entertaining story).
Fast forward to current-day Blind Enthusiasm, three years later, and while reviewing an ingredient list we saw BRU-1 was available and knew we had to get it for a future beer. Our strategy has evolved to always have at least one aggressively hoppy beer available at all times at Biera (and on sale to partners in kegs). It started with ACME RED, and has transitioned through others (Tofor’s Delight, NAR) and most recently it has been URB. It turns out that URB uses BRU-1 as one of its main ingredients, and the name for the beer is derived from the name of the hop. It’s as delicious as it is clever!