Today, craft beer sales make up more than 12 percent of the U.S. beer market and are expected to increase over the next five years. With craft brewers using generous amounts of hops of all kinds, there is an increased demand for cool, new hop varieties every year. And the flavor and aroma profiles are ever expanding, thanks to our hop breeding programs.
Breeding new hops is a long, complex process that, as you can imagine, creates much anticipation for brewers, craft beer aficionados, and hop enthusiasts alike. Each new variety is the culmination of many years’ work, and only a few hop varieties reach commercial markets each year, adding to the excitement — and have hop breeders thinking years ahead.
Every year, Hopsteiner invites customers and brewers to our annual hop harvest. The hop harvest begins at the end of August and runs through September. During the hop harvest, customers get a look at the entire spectrum of the world of hops and can even personally select brewers’ cuts of each variety after thoroughly grading them by appearance and aroma. This year’s hop harvest is set to be the biggest in history. That being said, here are some of the cool, new hop varieties to keep your eye on at hop harvest this year:
Formerly known as Experimental Hop 01210, Lemondrop hops are grown in the U.S., and are known for their unique lemon-citrus character. This aroma-type hop, originated from a cross between Cascade and USDA 19058 male, creates a lemon, mint, green tea, melon aroma. Lemondrop is a superb hop with a unique combination of fruity and herbal notes, ideal for pilsners and wheat beers along with IPAs, pale ales and saisons.
Lemondrop boasts fantastic lemony-citrus aroma and flavor for late kettle additions or dry hopping. Lemondrop hops are used in beers such as Deschutes Brewery’s 2015 Chasin’ Freshies Fresh Hop IPA, Other Half Brewing Co.’s Microgreen Session IPA, and Stone Brewing Co.’s Delicious IPA. Note: Chasin’ Freshies was a one-time seasonal and is no longer available.
Denali (formerly known as Hopsteiner 06277) is a dual purpose hop, originated from a cross between Nugget, Zeus and USDA 19058 male. Denali has a big aroma that imparts pineapple with notes of citrus and pine. This hop is popular with brewers who are looking for a distinct, impactful flavor in their beers. Denali has an unusually high total essential oil content, averaging more than 4 grams oil/100 grams of raw hops. Denali hops are often used in pale ales, such as Schlafly’s Hop Trial Denali.
Eureka!, also known as Experimental 05256, has an aroma that really packs a punch — strong bittering qualities and a complex and robust flavor and aroma profile with a black currant, dark fruit and a strong dank herbal character. Eureka! imparts flavors of pine, citrus, resin, tropical and dark fruit along with aromas of grapefruit rind, citrus and tangerine. It is the offspring of varietals Apollo and Merkur. Try Eureka in Kane Brewing Co.’s HopLab: Eureka that showcases Eureka’s dark fruit, pine and resinous flavors and aromas.
Calypso is a diploid aroma-type hop, originated from a cross between Hopsteiner breeding female 98005 and a Hopsteiner male derived from Nugget and USDA 19058 male. Calypso hops have a unique aroma and flavor that covers a wide spectrum of lemon, cherry blossoms, black pepper, bitter orange, mint, hints of tropical fruit and sappy, pronounced pear. Calypso hops are ideal for ales, stouts, barley wines, and IPAs, like New Belgium Brewing Co.’s Rampant Imperial IPA.
5. Experimental #07270
Unlike the other hop varieties with a citrus, juicy character, experimental hop #07270 has a strong dank and resinous character. With a spicy, resinous, tangerine and black pepper aroma, you can expect a big and bold presence with this hop. Found in Right Proper Brewing Co.’s American Pale Wheat Ale, Range Life, Experimental #07270 provides an earthy flavor.
This experimental hop, bred from mostly Cascade hops, has a big orange, lemon, grapefruit, lime character with tropical, juicy and floral back notes. With this hop’s floral character and spicy kick, this hop is great for pale ales, especially IPAs, like Tired Hands Brewing Co.’s experimental pilsner You’re Not Dead, Chill Out.
Hopsteiner’s multi-use hop, Bravo, is a high alpha hop that imparts bold and intriguing flavors to beers. It has and can be used in the brewhouse and/or post-fermentation additions. Dry hop notes include candy orange. Bravo’s heritage is based on the super alpha American hop variety “Zeus” and a vigorous and disease-resistance male developed in the Hopsteiner breeding program.
Bill Elkins is a craft brewery account manager in the Western United States and Canada for Hopsteiner, one of the largest hop growing, trading, breeding, and processing firms in the world.