Hopping Mad About Flavor
What’s a flavorful beer lover to do when the only option is a keg of mass-produced, fizzy yellow belch propellant?
Peter Hanley, inventor of a line of flavor enhancers, hopes more people will reach for his product, Mad Hops. When added to an industrial light lager, Mad Hops claims to transform it into a beverage that tastes more like a robust Porter with coffee and chocolate notes, or a crisp American Pale Ale with enough bitterness to satisfy even the biggest hop head.
Condensed liquid flavoring designed to enhance beer, Mad Hops (and its competitor OnTap) borrows a concept from existing products that add flavor to other beverages, like water.
“We aren’t interested, nor do we believe, this is an alternative for craft beer, it just makes macro lagers more interesting and complex,” says Hanley, adding that he got the idea for the flavored drops from his adult kids, who enjoyed flavorful beer but settled for cheaper options.
Mad Hops took three years to develop. Hanley started with stovetop recipes and then took those to beer and flavoring industries to create recipes that could be consistently produced on a larger scale.
The concept has been met with some skepticism, especially from those who haven’t given the product a try, Hanley admits. “Mad Hops is simply a dry-hopping product that allows the drinker to flavor a beer after the brewing process. It’s a fun product, but it has some serious beer science behind it, too.”
Hop oil extracts and malts are combined to achieve flavors like “apple Amber” and “Irish Porter,” Hanley explains. “Each product has four main components: hop oil extract, malt, and a bittering agent to elevate the base beer, then a natural flavor concentrate,” he says. “We source our ingredients from the same places many brewers go.”
Mad Hops are available in six flavors: American Pale Ale, Cherry Wheat, Irish Porter, Mexican Lime, Wild Blueberry, and Apple Amber. IPA and “orange moon” flavors will debut this fall. Get one bottle, enough for 18 12-ounce beers, for $7.99 or all six flavors for $29.99 at GoMadHops.com. ■