Soul & Spirits Brewery’s master brewer, Ryan Allen, grows hops in his Memphis backyard.
For the last two years, those hops have been thrown in the boil to make Soul & Spirits’ fresh hop, limited release beer, Polk Salad Fresh Hop IPA.
Polk Salad, 6.1% ABV, debuted in 2022 and included backyard Cascade fresh hops, plus Citra and Mosaic hops for dry hopping.
This year’s edition — which will be featured today at a Beer & Bites pop-up event at Restaurant Iris — was made with fresh Cascade, Nugget and Comet hops in the boil.
But the beer gets a huge dry hop boost from Citra and Simcoe “Cryo” fresh hops.
So what are Cryo fresh hops? They’re one of the hop industry’s latest innovations: “fresh hop” pellets with tons of aromas and flavors.
To make Cryo hops, once the hops are freshly harvested, the whole cones are flash frozen. Then, the frozen hops are made into concentrated “lupulin” pellets through a cryogenic hop process. (The lupulin glands in hop cones are where you can find a lot of the hop acids and oils that give hops their scents and flavors.)
The Cryo hop boost in the newest version of Polk Salad Fresh Hop IPA gives the beer aromas of fresh cut grass and a dank bitterness, plus some fruity notes. I enjoyed last year’s Polk Salad, but this year’s edition is really excellent. (I’m drinking one now as I write this!)
Beer & Bites at Restaurant Iris
Polk Salad Fresh Hop IPA is one of the beers that will be highlighted today, Monday, Nov. 20, at a Beer & Bites pop-up event at Restaurant Iris in East Memphis.
The event, $50 a person, will feature Soul & Spirits beers paired with dishes from Restaurant Iris.
Allen even saved some sold-out, boozy Knock on Wood Barrel Aged Imperial Stout (which will be paired with an espresso brownie) for the occasion. Knock on Wood, 10% ABV, was aged for over a year in Straight Tennessee Whiskey barrels from Old Dominick Distillery.
Polk Salad’s sonic inspiration
All Soul & Spirits beers get their names from songs written by, performed by, or featuring musicians from the Memphis area and greater Southern region.
Polk Salad’s name comes from Tony Joe White’s 1968 song, “Polk Salad Annie,” about a poor Southern girl who picked pokeweed to make a dish called polk salad.
Later, Elvis Presley often sang the song during live performances in the 1970s.