Good to the Last Hop
Right off the bat, Crystal Malt complemented the butterscotch-tinged esters in the yeast, making things nuttier and more caramel-y. The bigger challenge came with the hops. Nowhere in the world is as hop-mad as America right now, and while Western European brewers respect -- and maybe sometimes envy -- the U.S.’s bold experiments with bitterness, they also feel that over-hopping can serve to mask mistakes.
For Guinness Blonde, Guinness wanted the bitterness to be less overwhelming. Not because they were seeking to create some sort of introductory beer, but because when you’re hybridizing two brewing traditions and a revolution, balance is everything.
At first go, the brewers went with just Willamette and Mosaic hops, the former for its aromatic qualities, and the latter for its clean, complex bitterness. When both taste and analytical tests indicated the brew was still too bitter, they added Mt. Hood hops, which managed to bring more spiciness while softening the overall product. Thinking they had a winner, the Latrobe brewers shipped the beer Dublin’s way. Dublin enthusiastically agreed.