The Hop Breeding Company (HBC), a joint venture between John I. Haas, Inc. and Yakima Chief Ranches LLC, announced the official release of its first high-alpha bittering hop, Pahto. Many growers and brewers are already quite familiar with this hop, which until now has gone by its varietal name HBC 682, but now with more than 1,700 acres in the ground for 2018, HBC thought it was time for a brand name and formal introduction.
HBC has the mission to develop pest-resistant and disease-resistant hop varieties with strong commercial qualities and is known for creating powerhouse aroma hops such as Citra brand HBC 394, Mosaic brand HBC 369, and the recently-released Sabro brand HBC 438. The addition of Pahto nicely rounds out the HBC portfolio by providing brewers with a high-alpha hop that delivers a smooth bittering profile with mild, pleasant aromatics. The aroma profile of the hop cone is described as herbal, earthy, and floral. When used as a bittering hop, Pahto provides a very neutral flavor and a pleasant bitterness to the beer.
Pahto is a “super high alpha” hop that growers love because it is late-maturing and resistant to powdery and downy mildew. When used as an early-kettle addition, Pahto consistently delivers a clean canvass of bitterness that can be used for a wide variety of beer styles.
“Aroma hops get all the attention, but bittering hops are a really important part of brewing, too,” says Alex Barth, CEO of John I. Haas, Inc. “We bred Pahto to have really great agronomic qualities, so that it’s good for the farmer, good for the environment, and good for the brewer.”
The name Pahto is inspired by the native name for Mount Adams, the second-highest mountain in Washington State, and the most prominent landmark seen from the Yakima Valley, where many hops are grown. In the Pacific Northwest, most hop farms get their irrigation from snowmelt from the surrounding mountains.
“We liked that the name Pahto paid tribute to Yakima Valley, the heart of the hop world, as well as to the local history and geography,” says Jason Perrault of Yakima Chief Ranches. “We’re focused on sustainability because we want to protect our natural resources, and growing hops that are high-yielding and disease-resistant contributes to that goal.”