What Are Mosaic Hops? Mosaic In Beer

To preface: Mosaic hops are delicious.

If you’re like most people (myself included), then you like IPAs. How could you not? They’re the epitome of Americanization, taking a foreign idea and warping it until it fits our idea of perfection. There’s a reason that IPAs go so well with pizza.

But just like that pizza that we essentially stole from the Italians, there are a variety of styles. Do we get the pizza that has seven different types of meat? Or maybe the pizza covered in vegetables so we can lie to ourselves and say we’re being healthy?

IPAs are like pizza – they come in different forms, and not every form will fit everyone’s palette.

Look no further than young-but-bold Mosaic hop.

How Mosaic Hops Were Born

Mosaic hops aren’t naturally occurring – they were bred from a combination of Simcoe and Nugget hops. This makes them sort of like ligers; they aren’t normal, but damn are they cool.

Like pretty much any hop variety, you’ll find Mosaic hops growing in Washington and Idaho. And what about that cool name? Well, it should make you think of other mosaic things, like windows. A complex combination of colors that create a masterpiece.

But in this masterpiece, we don’t use colors…we use flavors.

What Do Mosaic Hops Taste Like?

Mosaic hops are super fruity in flavor. You know how IPAs can taste incredibly bitter, especially when they start reaching around 6-7% ABV? Ya, these hops aren’t going to do that to your brew (unless the brewer mixes in other hops).

Lots of brewers utilize Mosaic for single-hopped beers. You can easily find these on menus because they’re often called something like “Mosaic IPA” or “Mosaic Pale.” At least, I assume brewers that name their beers “Mosaic” anything are using Mosaic hops. That, or they’re just fans of the art medium.

Mixing these with other hop varieties will create a mega-flavor that’s unmatched. Consider the Born Yesterday IPA from Lagunitas (if you’ve ever had it). The Born Yesterday uses a combination of Amarillo, Equinox, Simcoe, Citra and Mosaic hops. If you’ve had that beer, you know it’s a burst of IPA flavors.

Why Are Mosaic Hops Popular?

Over the past decade or so, the West Coast has just about burnt out the West Coast style IPA. So, instead of trying to get hoppier and hoppier, brewers just decided to try a different style of hops.

Mosaic hops will keep an IPA at a high ABV, and because it is an IPA you can still expect to get some bitterness in whatever beer you drink. But that juicy flavor is king of the world right now, and it’s only getting more popular.

So, next time you’re at a local brewery, try picking a beer that uses Mosaic hops and see if you can pull out what that flavor is. It helps if you put it side-by-side with a non-Mosaic IPA. You’ll see what all the rage is about!

Mosaic Hops vs Citra Hops: What’s the Difference?

Both Mosaic and Citra hops are fantastic for IPAs, and they’re often used together. However, there are some differences to note

Citra hops, as you might have guessed, have more of a citrusy flavor, something akin to an passion fruit or stone fruit. Citra hops also tend to have a higher alpha acid content, which generally means stronger flavors and bitterness.

Of course, the expression of hops will vary by brewer and style, so take some of these differences with a grain of salt. Just be sure to try a Mosaic solo and Citra solo side-by-side to get a better idea of flavors and aroma.

Thomas Short
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