When our brewers make their annual pilgrimage to the hop-growing region of Yakima Valley, they’re like kids in a candy store. They walk the rows of fresh hops, eyeball the cones and crush them in their hands until their oils fill the air.

It’s that experience that inspired LolliHop, our once-a-year Double IPA that releases in mid-March.

LolliHop grew up in our Scratch Series, small-batch beers where we look for the right ingredients and the best ways to use them. Scratch #327 was the genesis. That’s when the combined aroma of Citra and Mosaic grabbed our attention.

“There’s only a handful of beers that have an a-aha origin,” says John. “And LolliHop is one of them.”

Through a series of Scratch releases, we made subtle tweaks to mash temperatures, the mineral composition of our water, and the timing and temperature of hop additions. We loved the results: a fluffy, almost pillowy mouthfeel smoothed by a proportionally dry finish.

After four Scratch batches, we landed on a recipe. We combined three of our favorite hops – Mosaic, Citra and Azacca – hot, warm and during fermentation to pull the best out of each. Dry-hopping with Citra and Mosaic layers in notes of orange, grapefruit and melon, while Azacca in the kettle adds hints of papaya and pineapple.

For the backbone, we use Pennsylvania-grown Rustic pale malt, and wheat and oats give the beer a silky smooth texture with a touch of haze.

“Rustic Pale is a 2-row barley kilned slightly higher than normal pales for more flavor and body,” says Scott Broussard, maltster at Philadelphia’s Double Eagle. “The slightly nutty cereal flavors are complex and aromatic.”

For fermentation, we use an estery ale yeast to pump up those pineapple and fruit-cup notes. Wheat and oats make this beer silky smooth with a touch of haze.

In the end, LolliHop weighs in at 8.2% ABV with notes of pear, citrus and a hint of melon.

The cherry on top of LolliHop is the otherworldly label art that was dreamed up by Baltimore artist and Art of Tröegs alum Devin Watson.

“I wanted to tell a story,” Devin says. “And LolliHop had all the elements: a quest to find a great hop combination, three different hop varieties, and this kind of candy theme. The design grew organically from there.

“I imagined this magical forest where the hops were as big as redwoods. There are three trees pictured representing the three types of hops used to create LolliHop. Basically it’s like a huge scene from Candyland if Candyland had a beer forest.”

LolliHop Double IPA is available on draft and in 4-packs of 16-oz. cans where Tröegs is sold. Find it near you at troegs.com/brewfinder, and ask for it at your favorite bar, restaurant or bottleshop.