The Beer That Started It All
June 15, 2017
Hop Drop ‘N Roll started as a home brew recipe in the garage of our founder, and North Carolina native, Todd Ford. Todd started home brewing in Charlotte in the early 1990’s as a hobby when he was at home from his airline pilot job.
Todd’s favorite styles to brew were India Pale Ales and Porters. His first home brew beers were clones of Samuel Smith’s Nut Brown Ale and Sierra Nevada’s Pale Ale. Todd spent a lot of weekend layovers on the west coast where he was introduced to exceptional hop-forward beers that he tried to recreate when he returned home. The beers of Coronado, Ballast Point, Port Brewing, Russian River, North Coast, Ninkasi and Sierra Nevada were all influential in Todd’s home brew development.
Many iterations and hop combinations later, Todd’s house IPA was becoming more refined with the help of fellow home brewers (and friends) from the Carolina Brewmasters. Because of hop shortages throughout Todd’s years of homebrewing, the primary hops in his house IPA went from Simcoe and Citra to Amarillo and Citra, with two other varieties in support. Using a base grain combination of American two-row barley and English Maris Otter added more depth to the malt bill to support the bigger hop flavors and ABV. While newer IPAs seem to purposely mute the malt aspects of their beers to focus entirely on the hop flavors and aromas, we think that our recipe, with attention to both hops and malt, adds better balance.
Hop Drop ‘N Roll is essentially the same recipe as the original home brew version but adapted and refined by our brewing experts to account for equipment updates and the inevitable year-to-year changes in malt and hop crops. Hop Drop ‘N Roll makes use of first wort hopping, kettle hopping, whirlpool hopping, hopback hopping and of course, dry hopping. Did we say we like hops? Every single year our brewers travel to Yakima, Washington, and Woodburn, Oregon to select the exact hops that will be in every NoDa beer the following year. The quality of hops directly affect the quality of the finished beer, so why would you trust the selection process to someone else?
When Hop Drop ‘N Roll was being brewed on a 1/2 BBL system and served at Todd and Suzie’s house parties, it was certainly a favorite among their friends; all these years later (now brewed on a 60 BBL system), it is still our most popular beer. In fact, we now brew more Hop Drop ‘N Roll per day than we did in our entire first two years of operation, although a shortage of Citra and Amarillo hops in those couple of years does contribute to that statistic; Have no fear though, we now have hop contracts in place, so you don’t have to fret about us running out of this sweet nectar. The popularity of Hop Drop ‘N Roll also skyrocketed because it brought home the Gold Award at the 2014 World Beer Cup, making it the best IPA in the WORLD, and one of our greatest accomplishments!