In the craft beer segment, hops tend to steal the spotlight when it comes to formulation. They’re prominent within India Pale Ales (IPAs), which is the segment’s top-selling style, according to Information Resources Inc., Chicago. Plus, they’re even measured in most beers by International Bitterness Units (IBUs), which assess the bitterness of a beer as provided by the hops that are infused during brewing.
However, in order to help balance out hop-forward beers like IPAs, brewers are turning to malts, says Jeff Milligan, North America commercial manager for Cargill Malt, a division of Cargill Inc., Minneapolis. Although malts might come off as more of a “sidekick” to hops for this reason, beer wouldn’t exist without them.