The Complete Guide to All American Hop Varieties

Grace Weitz
Post by Grace Weitz
August 22, 2022
The Complete Guide to All American Hop Varieties

Undeniably, hops are hot. Now more than ever consumers are clamoring for the tiny little green cones that give your beers their characteristic aroma and flavor. In the American craft beer industry, we feel very confident saying that hops are the hottest ingredient in beer at this moment.

But you don’t have to take our word for it. With American hops most popular and pronounced in IPAs of all varieties, let’s look at the facts:

According to recent NielsenIQ data analyzed by Bump Williams Consulting (BWC), hazy imperial/double/triple IPA dollar sales increased +128.7% to $33.3 million, more than doubling. And overall, IPAs still account for 46% of craft dollar share.

Last year, during its yearly roundup of statistics on the app, Untappd discovered that four of the top five styles fell into the IPA category, with American IPAs snagging the top spot with a total of over 7.2 million check-ins and New England-style / hazy IPAs not far behind with over 6.1 million check-ins. And just to give you some perspective, the American IPA category has held the top spot on this yearly list for the last eleven years.

As a brewer or brewery owner, we’re not telling you something surprising here. But armed with the knowledge that these beautiful bines are here to stay, it’s worth diving a bit deeper into the enormous breadth of hops at your disposal.

Editor's Note: This is part one of a three-part series covering hops across the world. For this piece, we’ll cover hops native to America, but check out our pieces on Southern Hemisphere hops and European/Noble hops.

Photography courtesy of Firestone Walker Brewing Company

What’s Hot in Hops Right Now?

Brewers from Firestone Walker Brewing Company walking through hop vines in a field
Photography courtesy of Firestone Walker Brewing Company

Without a doubt, the global pandemic changed the craft beer industry. Many brewers are still feeling the ripple effects, including with hops.

“Currently, the market is interestingly enough shifting from more expensive proprietary hops to less expensive public or less expensive proprietary hops,” says Jeff Perkins, CEO of Yakima Valley Hops, the source for the highest-quality hops from both the Yakima Valley and premium growing regions around the world, in an article for Hop Culture. “That’s due to the cost of business increasing, and COVID has caused a lot of breweries to shut down and reopen.”

People are going back to the hops they know and have used again and again
Jeff Perkins, CEO of Yakima Valley Hops

According to Perkins, this COVID coaster meant many breweries renewed focus on their flagship beers. As opposed to experimenting with some of the more expensive or hard-to-find hop varieties.

Makes sense that in a time of turmoil we return to what we know best. And what we know works well.

“People are going back to the hops they know and have used again and again,” says Perkins, citing that Yakima Valley Hops’ Citra® sales have stayed consistent.

For that very reason, Perkins notes that there haven’t been a ton of new hop varieties released into the market the past couple of years.

Still, although the past couple of years have been tumultuous, brewers have persevered. Whether that’s exploring new hop technology that maximizes efficiency and flavor (Read: Cryo Hops, Cold IPAs, Phantasm, hop oil extracts, liquid hop terpenes, hop blends) or doubling down on the most popular hops.

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What Are the Ten Hottest Hops of 2022?

Hops growing on a vine through natural sunshine
Photography courtesy of Firestone Walker Brewing Company

Yes, there are certain American hop varieties that are currently top of everyone’s mind. We bet you can name them: Citra®, Mosaic®, Simcoe®, CTZ (i.e. Columbus, Tomahawk®, and Zeus), and Amarillo®. Maybe even the old-school Cascade, Chinook, and Centennial still sneak onto that list, too.

But again, let’s turn to the data to actually see what hops are covering the most ground in the U.S. According to a National Hop Report from the United States Department of Agriculture, the Yakima Valley, which alone produced seventy-three percent of all hops in the United States in 2021, shows these following hop varieties leading the way: Citra®, Columbus/Tomahawk®/Zeus (CTZ), Mosaic®, Simcoe®, and Pahto.

Jamie Bogner at Craft Beer & Brewing puts together yearly illustrations showcasing the growth of certain hops in the Pacific Northwest based on The Hop Growers of America 2021 Statistical Report. This past June, the graphic showed the following hops at the top: Citra®, Mosaic®, CTZ, Cascade, Simcoe®, Centennial, Pahto, Amarillo®, Chinook, and El Dorado®.

Illustration from Craft Beer & Brewing showing the top 10 hops in the Pacific Northwest

Similarly, that same Hop Growers of America 2021 Statistical Report reported that the following ten hops covered the most amount of the Pacific Northwest by acreage: Citra®, CTZ, Mosaic®, Simcoe®, Cascade, Centennial, Pahto, Amarillo®, Chinook, and El Dorado®.

Chart provided by Hop Growers of America showing the top ten hops being grown by acreage

Categorically, these are the hottest hops on the market right now just based on the statistics. (Of course, ask a brewer to name their favorite ten hops and you’ll get ten probably wildly different answers.)

But we’ve only just scratched the surface here. Quite simply: a sheer number of hops exist in America.

As a brewer or brewery owner, it’s important to not only understand what hops are hot, but also the specs behind these varieties.

For that reason, we’ve put together a handy cheat sheet.

 

A Complete Guide to All American Hop Varieties

A worker at Firestone Walker Brewing Company walking thorugh a hop field at dusk
Photography courtesy of Firestone Walker Brewing Company

After looking at the currently most-trending hops in America, we’ve put together a complete list of American hops along with some essential information to know about each including: description, type, alpha acid range, aroma notes, best beer styles, and possible substitutions.

Editor’s Note: Consider this a cheat sheet. We’re not brewers, so we can’t proclaim this is the most exhaustive guide. For that reason, we’ve sourced all of the information below from a few very reputable hop vendors, merchants, and growers.* All descriptions and alpha acid ranges come courtesy of Yakima Chief Hops (YCH), one of the most respected hop merchants in the business. The aroma notes and best beer styles come from a combination of research from YCH and Yakima Valley Hops. And the substitution suggestions are courtesy of YCH and Beer Maverick.

* To get the best and most up-to-date information on any hop variety, be sure to ask your own vendors, hop merchants, or hop growers.

Simply click on the name of the hop listed below to learn more about it.

Ahtanum®

Description: Bred by Yakima Chief Ranches, Ahtanum® Brand YCR 1 is an aroma-type cultivar used for its aromatic properties and moderate bittering. The hop is named after the location where Charles Carpenter established the first hop farm east of the Cascade Mountains in Washington State in 1869.

Type: Aroma

Alpha Acid Range: 5.7-6.3%

Aroma Notes: Citrus grapefruit, and geranium

Best Beer Styles: India Pale Ale (IPA), pale ale, hefeweizen, American ales, lagers, California common, bitters

Substitutions: Cascade, Amarillo®, Simcoe®, Centennial, Willamette

Amarillo®

Description: Discovered and introduced by Virgil Gamache Farms in Washington State, Amarillo® Brand VGXP01 is an aroma variety that has recently become one of the top 10 varieties utilized by the craft beer industry. It features relatively high alpha acids along with extremely high levels of myrcene for citrus and grapefruit flavors. Amarillo® demonstrates good resistance to downy and powdery mildew.

Type: Aroma

Alpha Acid Range: 7-11%

Aroma Notes: Grapefruit, orange, lemon, melon, apricot, and peach

Best Beer Styles: American wheat, American pale ale (APA), American IPA, amber wheat

Substitutions: Cascade, Centennial, Simcoe®

Bitter Gold

Description: Released in 1999, Bitter Gold is a high-alpha variety with excellent aroma capabilities. Its lineage includes Brewer's Gold, Bullion, Comet, and Fuggle. Bitter Gold offers limited aroma when used as a bittering hop but delivers diverse stone and tropical fruit flavors in later additions.

Type: Dual Purpose

Alpha Acid Range: 12-14.5%

Aroma Notes: Pear, watermelon, stone fruit, and fresh cut grass

Best Beer Styles: Ale, lager, pilsner, bitters, IPA

Substitutions: Galena, Nugget

Bravo™

Description: Developed by Hopsteiner Breeding Company and released in 2006, Bravo™ is a second-generation super-alpha variety. It is an excellent bittering variety but showcases pleasant fruit and sweet floral aroma characteristics too.

Type: Bittering

Alpha Acid Range: 15-18%

Aroma Notes: Orange, vanilla, and floral

Best Beer Styles: IPA, APA, extra special bitter (ESB)

Substitutions: Columbus, Zeus, Apollo, Magnum, Nugget

Brewers Gold

Description: Bred at Wye College in 1919, Brewer’s Gold is an ancestor to many major high-alpha hops, including Sterling, Galena, Horizon, Centennial and Nugget. It is an English variety; however, American-grown Brewer’s Gold contains higher levels of alpha acids than its English counterpart.

Type: Bittering

Alpha Acid Range: 8-11%

Aroma Notes:Black currant and spicy

Best Beer Styles: IPA

Substitutions: Bullion, Cascade, Galena, Northern Brewer, Northdown

Cascade

Description: Originating from the USDA-ARA breeding program, Cascade is an aroma-type cultivar bred in 1956 and released in 1972. It was developed by open pollination of a Fuggle seedling. Cascade is the most popular variety in craft brewing and is known for having a unique floral, spicy, and citrus character with balanced bittering potential.

Type: Aroma

Alpha Acid Range: 4.5-9%

Aroma Notes: Medium intense floral, citrus, and grapefruit tones

Best Beer Styles: Pale ale, IPA, porter, barleywine

Substitutions: Centennial, Amarillo®, Columbus

Cashmere

Description: Released by Washington State University in 2013, Cashmere is a daughter of Cascade, containing Northern Brewer germplasm through the male parent. It contains higher alpha acid content than Cascade and twice as much humulene, providing smooth bitterness and a mild citrus fruit aroma.

Type: Dual purpose

Alpha Acid Range: 7-10%

Aroma Notes: Berry, grapefruit, grassy, herbal, and stone fruit

Best Beer Styles: Pale ale, IPA, saison, wild ales, American blonde, and American amber

Substitutions: Cascade

Centennial

Description: Bred in 1974 and released by Washington State University in 1990, Centennial is an aroma-type cultivar that has found favor as one of the most popular varieties in craft brewing. It is often referred to as a super-Cascade (containing nearly double the alpha content) and can be used for bittering purposes. Centennial is a diploid cross between Brewer's Gold and a USDA male.

Type: Dual purpose

Alpha Acid Range: 8.5-12%

Aroma Notes: Lemon and floral

Best Beer Styles: Pale ale, amber ale, American IPA, American blonde, American stout, American wheat, DIPA, barleywine, red ale

Substitutions: Cascade, Amarillo®, Chinook, Simcoe®

Chelan

Description: Similar to Galena but with higher alpha acids, Chelan was developed by the John I. Haas, Inc. breeding company and released in 1994.

Type: Bittering

Alpha Acid Range: 13.5-15.5%

Aroma Notes: Mild floral and citrus characteristics

Best Beer Styles: American ale

Substitutions: Galena, Nugget

Chinook

Description: Developed by the USDA breeding program in Washington State and released in 1985 as a high-alpha bittering variety, Chinook is a cross between Petham Golding and a USDA male. In recent years, it has found favor as a dual-purpose hop in the craft brewing community as a result of its spice and pine aroma characteristics.

Type: Dual purpose

Alpha Acid Range: 12-14.5%

Aroma Notes: Grapefruit, spice, and pine

Best Beer Styles: APA, American IPA, American stout, American porter, American amber, American brown, American barleywine, American lager, winter ale

Substitutions: Nugget, Columbus, Tomahawk®, Zeus, CTZ, Northern Brewer, Galena

Citra®

Description: Developed by Hop Breeding Company and released in 2007, Citra® Brand HBC 394 features fairly high alpha acids and total oil contents with a low percentage of cohumulone. It is tolerant to downy mildew and powdery mildew with good pickability of dense, medium-sized cones. Comprised of Hallertau Mittelfrüh, US Tettnang, Brewer's Gold, and East Kent Golding.

Type: Aroma

Alpha Acid Range: 12-15%

Aroma Notes: Grapefruit, melon, lime, gooseberry, passion fruit, and lychee

Best Beer Styles: APA, American IPA, double IPA (DIPA), amber ale

Substitutions: Simcoe®, Mosaic®

Cluster

Description: Cluster is one of the oldest hop varieties grown in the United States and, until the late 1970s, accounted for the majority of the country’s hop acreage. Its pedigree is unknown; however, hybridization of imported varieties and indigenous male hops has been suggested. Cluster is an excellent dual-purpose hop and is often used in the reproduction of historical beer styles.

Type: Dual purpose

Alpha Acid Range: 6-9%

Aroma Notes: Floral, earthy, and sweet fruit

Best Beer Styles: Barleywine, English pale ale, amber ale, honey ale, cream ale, American lager

Substitutions: Eroica, Galena

Columbia

Description: Selected in 1967 at Oregon State University in Corvallis, Oregon, Columbia is a descendant of Fuggle and sister selection of Willamette. Commercial production was discontinued in the early 1980s in favor of Willamette; however, small quantities are again being produced.

Type: Dual purpose

Alpha Acid Range: 5-6%

Aroma Notes: Earthy, fruity

Best Beer Styles: Ales

Substitutions: Centennial, Chinook

Columbus

Description: Originally selected by Charles Zimmerman for Hopunion, Inc., Columbus is a descendant of Nugget. It is a high-alpha variety and is primarily used for bittering purposes. Columbus is often referred to as CTZ, a trio of similar hops including Tomahawk® and Zeus.

Type: Bittering

Alpha Acid Range: 14.5-17.5%

Aroma Notes: Black pepper, licorice, curry, and subtle citrus

Best Beer Styles: APA, IPA, imperial IPA, imperial red ale, imperial brown ale, barleywine, stout, lager

Substitutions: Zeus, Tomahawk®, Chinook, Galena, Millennium, Nugget

Comet

Description: Selected in 1961 and released in 1974 by the USDA, Comet was originally utilized for its high alpha acid content and adaptability to growing conditions in the Yakima Valley. Commercial production ceased in the early 1980s in favor of newer super-alpha hops; however, Comet has made a recent comeback, finding favor with some brewers in dual-purpose applications for its subtle and unique, wild American aroma.

Type: Bittering

Alpha Acid Range: 8-10.5%

Aroma Notes: Subtle wild American, grassy, and grapefruit

Best Beer Styles: Lager, American ale, IPA, ale

Substitutions: Galena, Summit™

Crystal

Description: Bred in 1983 by the USDA, Crystal is a triploid aroma-type cultivar from Hallertau Mittelfrüh, Cascade, Brewer's Gold, and Early Green. It is primarily grown in Oregon and has become increasingly popular among craft brewers due to its versatility in a variety of beer styles.

Type: Aroma

Alpha Acid Range: 3-6%

Aroma Notes: Woody, green, citrus, and herbal

Best Beer Styles: Bitters, pilsner, light lager, golden ale, nut brown ale, pale ale, IPA, stout, chocolate stout, American lager

Substitutions: Liberty, Mount Hood, German Hallertau, Ultra, Strisselspalter, Hersbrucker

El Dorado®

Description: El Dorado was released by CLS Farms in the fall of 2010. El Dorado’s high alpha acid levels combined with its unique aromas give craft brewers maximum supply chain flexibility

Type: Dual purpose

Alpha Acid Range: 13-16%

Aroma Notes: Citrus, stone fruit, tropical, woody

Best Beer Styles: Amber ales, IPAs, pale ales, wheats, German-style beers, stouts

Substitutions: Citra®, Nelson Sauvin, Rakau

Eukanot®

Description: Developed by Hop Breeding Company and released in 2014, Ekuanot® HBC 366 features pronounced aroma characteristics and extremely high oil content. This variety bursts out of the spring soil in vibrant yellow and gradually matures to a deep green color by fall harvest.

Type: Aroma

Alpha Acid Range: 14-16%

Aroma Notes: Melon, berry, orange peel, lime, papaya, pine, and fresh peppers

Best Beer Styles: Pale ales, IPA

Substitutions: Citra®, Galaxy

Falconer’s Flight 7Cs®

Description: Developed by Hopunion LLC in 2011, Falconer's Flight hop pellets are an exclusive proprietary hop blend created to honor and support the legacy of Northwest brewing legend Glen Hay Falconer. Proceeds from each Falconer's Flight purchase is contributed to the Glen Hay Falconer Foundation. The proprietary blend combines seven “C” hops and additional experimental varieties.

Type: Aroma

Alpha Acid Range: 9-10.5%

Aroma Notes: Strong fruit and citrus characteristics with layers of spicy and earthy overtones

Best Beer Styles: US-style IPAs, pale ales, lagers, black IPAs, APAs

Substitutions: Citra®, Simcoe®, Amarillo®, Falconer's Flight®, Cascade, Centennial, Chinook, Columbus, Cluster, Crystal

Falconer’s Flight®

Description: Developed by Hopunion LLC in 2010, Falconer's Flight® hop pellets are an exclusive proprietary hop blend created to honor and support the legacy of Northwest brewing legend Glen Hay Falconer. Proceeds from each Falconer's Flight purchase are contributed to the Glen Hay Falconer Foundation. These hop pellets are an excellent complement to many IPA and pale ale-oriented hop varieties.

Type: Aroma

Alpha Acid Range: 9.5-12%

Aroma Notes: Distinct tropical, floral, lemon, and grapefruit characteristics

Best Beer Styles: IPA, pale ale, lager

Substitutions: Cascade, Columbus, Centennial

Fuggle (US)

Description: Similar to English Fuggle but with slightly higher alpha.

Type: Aroma

Alpha Acid Range: 4-5.5%

Aroma Notes: Mild, wood, mint, grass, and subtle fruit

Best Beer Styles: English pale ale, Belgian IPA, ESB, brown ale, red ale

Substitutions: Fuggle (UK), Willamette, Styrian Golding, Tettnanger (GR)

Galena

Description: Developed by the USDA breeding program in Idaho in 1968 and released in 1978, Galena is an open-pollinated cross of Brewer’s Gold. It is a high-alpha variety with increasingly popular aroma characteristics.

Type: Bittering

Alpha Acid Range: 13-15%

Aroma Notes: Sweet fruits, pear, pineapple, blackcurrant, grapefruit, lime, gooseberry, and spicy wood

Best Beer Styles: Imperial stout, stout, IPA, barleywine

Substitutions: Nugget, Columbus, Zeus, Chinook, Pride of Ringwood, Eroica, Newport, Cluster, Brewers Gold

Glacier

Description: Released in 2000 by Washington State University, Glacier is an offspring of French Elsasser, Brewer's Gold, and Northern Brewer. It was selected for its good yield potential and low cohumulone, providing smoothness and balanced bitterness in beer.

Type: Dual purpose

Alpha Acid Range: 4-7.5%

Aroma Notes: Plum, blackberry, and wood

Best Beer Styles: ESB, IPA, wheat beer, APA

Substitutions: Willamette, Fuggle (US), Tettnanger (GR), Golding (US)

Golding

Description: Golding hops consist of a group of traditional English aroma varieties which have been cultivated since 1790. The cultivar originated in England and the hops were named after villages in East Kent (Petham, Rotherham, Canterbury, Eastwell). US Golding is the Canterbury strain. It is susceptible to downy mildew but has good pickability of small-sized, moderately compact cones.

Type: Aroma

Alpha Acid Range: 3-6.5%

Aroma Notes: Delicate and sweet floral

Best Beer Styles: Bitter, pale ale, Belgian ale, Belgian IPA, barleywine, imperial stout, red ale, Irish stout, APA

Substitutions: East Kent Golding, Fuggle, Willamette, Savinjski Golding, Progress, Whitbread Golding

Hallertau (US)

Description: US Hallertau originates from the classic Hallertau variety of Germany. It is a noble aroma variety. Despite low yield and low resistance to disease, Hallertau remains a historic hop and is often celebrated in the production of purist recipes and traditional beer styles

Type: Aroma

Alpha Acid Range: 3.5-5.5%

Aroma Notes: Noble, earthy, and herbal

Best Beer Styles: German pilsner, pale ale, wheat, American lager

Substitutions: Liberty, Hallertau (US), Hallertauer Tradition

HBC 431

Description: An experimental variety made by the Hop Breeding Company, a joint venture between Yakima Chief Ranches and John I. Haas, HBC 431 interestingly carries the highest xanthohumol content of any hop. Xanthohumol is a potent antioxidant, 200 times more powerful than antioxidants found in red wine. Used in Paulaner’s hop selection for their Oktoberfest bier.

Type: Dual purpose

Alpha Acid Range: 14-16%

Aroma Notes: Peach, berry, tropical fruit, citrus, and herbal

Best Beer Styles: NA

Substitutions: NA

HBC 472

Description: Bred by Hop Breeding Company through open pollination of a wild American hop subspecies neomexicanus, HBC 472 is a dual-purpose variety still in the experimental phase. The hop displays a unique aroma profile consisting of floral, wood, earth, and coconut characteristics. When hopped aggressively in IPA-style beers, citrus and grapefruit aromas emerge, along with a distinct whiskey/bourbon and coconut character in the background. These characteristics are especially evident in darker, malt-forward beers.

Type: Aroma

Alpha Acid Range: 9-12%

Aroma Notes: Floral, wood, coconut, and distinct whiskey/bourbon

Best Beer Styles: Pale ales, IPAs, porters, stouts, and barrel-aged beers

Substitutions: NA

Horizon

Description: Bred in Oregon in 1970 and released in 1997, Horizon is a descendant of Brewer's Gold and half-sister to Nugget. Its low cohumulone is similar to noble varieties and provides smoothness to beer; however, alpha acid levels can reach as high as 12%. Horizon can be utilized in every stage of the brewing process.

Type: Dual purpose

Alpha Acid Range: 8.8-12%

Aroma Notes: Floral and spicy

Best Beer Styles: Light ale, red ale, pumpkin ale

Substitutions: Hallertauer Magnum

Idaho 7®

Description: Idaho 7® Brand was bred and released by Jackson Farms in Wilder, Idaho.

Type: Dual purpose

Alpha Acid Range: 12-15%

Aroma Notes: Berry, bubblegum, citrus, stone fruit, and tropical

Best Beer Styles: IPA, pale ale, hop-forward American wheat beers

Substitutions: Azacca, El Dorado®, Cashmere, Citra®, Idaho Gem™, Amarillo, Chinook, Columbu

Idaho Gem™

Description: Named after its home state, Idaho Gem was found by Gooding Farms in Parma. Rich levels of sweet, fruit-forward aromatic oils make Idaho Gem™ optimal for late kettle additions or dry hopping in a wide variety of styles, whether alone or in a blend.

Type: Dual purpose

Alpha Acid Range: 12-14%

Aroma Notes: Berry, bubble gum, citrus, floral, and mint

Best Beer Styles: IPA and pale ale

Substitutions: Azacca, El Dorado®, Cashmere, Citra®, Idaho 7®, Cascade

Jarrylo®

Description: Jarrylo (pronounced Jar-ril-low) is named after Jarilo, the Slavic god of fertility and springtime. Bred by the Association for the Development of Hop Agronomy (ADHA), Jarrylo is a smaller hop with a shorter bine that makes it easier to harvest. High in alpha acids, Jarrylo comes from the Summit family.

Type: Dual purpose

Alpha Acid Range: 12-14%

Aroma Notes: Citrus, fruity, herbal, spicy, and woody

Best Beer Styles: American IPA, APA, saison, Belgian ale, pilsners, lager, wheat, wild ale

Substitutions: Motueka, Nelson Sauvin, Mosaic®

Liberty

Description: Bred in 1983, Liberty is an extension of the Hallertau hop family. It is a half-sister to Ultra, Mt. Hood, and Crystal. Liberty displays mild floral and spice characteristics with some subtle citrus notes.

Type: Aroma

Alpha Acid Range: 4-6%

Aroma Notes: Noble, delicate, floral bouquet, and spice

Best Beer Styles: Bock, lager, pale ale

Substitutions: Hallertau, Mount Hood, Tradition

Loral®

Description: Developed by Hop Breeding Company and released in 2016, Loral® HBC 291 has a noble heritage that straddles the fence between old- and new-world hop aromatics. It has the ability to complement all beer styles, making it a very versatile hop in the brewery. Loral® has been described as pleasant with floral, citrus, peppery, and some dark fruit characteristics.

Type: Dual Purpose

Alpha Acid Range: 11-13.5%

Aroma Notes: Very pleasant, floral, peppery, lemon-citrus and dark fruit, and herbal

Best Beer Styles: IPA, APA, American wheat ale

Substitutions: Glacier, Nugget, Strisselspalt, Tardif De Bourgogne

Magnum

Description: Bred at the Hop Research Center in Hüll in 1980 and released in 1993, Magnum is a German variety (also grown in the U.S.) and daughter of Galena. It is a high-alpha cultivar and is often used as the base bittering variety. Magnum does not display any distinct aroma characteristics; however, subtle spice and fruit characteristics have been noted by some brewers.

Type: Bittering

Alpha Acid Range: 12-15.5%

Aroma Notes: Citrus, grassy, herbal, and pineapple

Best Beer Styles: APA, American IPA, strong ale, American lager

Substitutions: Galena, German Magnum, Horizon, Northdown, Northern Brewer

Millenium

Description: Bred by the John I. Haas breeding program and released in 2000, Millennium is a super-alpha variety with mild, herbal aromas. It is a descendant of Nugget.

Type: Bittering

Alpha Acid Range: 15.5-18.5%

Aroma Notes: Floral, fruity, herbal, resin, toffee, and pear

Best Beer Styles: Stout, ale, American ale

Substitutions: Nugget, Columbus, Summit™, CTZ

Mosaic®

Description: Developed by Hop Breeding Company and released in 2012, Mosaic® HBC 369 contains high alpha content and features a unique and complex aroma profile that translates favorably into a variety of beer styles. It is a daughter of Simcoe® YCR 14 and a Nugget-derived male. Mosaic® is named in honor of the artistic assortment of aromas and flavors it is capable of presenting.

Type: Aroma

Alpha Acid Range: 11-14%

Aroma Notes: Earthy, blueberry, tangerine papaya, rose, blossoms, grass, and bubblegum

Best Beer Styles: IPA, pale ale, DIPAs

Substitutions: Citra®, Simcoe®

Mt. Hood

Description: Bred in 1983 and released in 1989 from the USDA breeding program in Oregon, Mount Hood is an American-bred triploid aroma-type cultivar stemming from German Hallertau Mittelfrüher and German Hersbrucker. Popular among American craft brewers, it is named after the famous Oregon volcano.

Type: Aroma

Alpha Acid Range: 4-6%

Aroma Notes: Herbal, pungent, hay, and spicy

Best Beer Styles: Hefeweizen, doppelbock, Russian imperial stout, brown ale, golden ale, pale ale, amber ale, weizenbock, IPA, holiday lager, bock, American wheat, Munich helles, American lager

Substitutions: Crystal, Strisselspalter, Hersbrucker

Mt. Rainier

Description: Bred by Oregon State University, Mt. Rainier is a dual-purpose variety with noble aroma characteristics. It is similar to the classic German variety Hallertau Mittelfrüh but features more bittering strength.

Type: Dual purpose

Alpha Acid Range: 5-7%

Aroma Notes: Noble, licorice, and floral

Best Beer Styles: Lager, American ale, porter

Substitutions: Hallertau, Fuggle

Newport

Description: Bred to be resistant to powdery mildew and released in 2002 by the USDA, Newport is a descendant of the classic bittering variety Magnum. It contains high alpha acid, cohumulone, and myrcene content, offering more distinct aroma characteristics than its parent.

Type: Bittering

Alpha Acid Range: 10.5-12.5%

Aroma Notes: Spicy

Best Beer Styles: Pale ale, American lager

Substitutions: Brewer's Gold, Fuggle, Galena, Magnum, Nugget

Northern Brewer

Description: Bred in England in 1934 from a Canterbury Golding plant and male seedling of Brewer's Gold, Northern Brewer is mainly grown in the United States and Germany. US Northern Brewer contains slightly higher alpha acids and high myrcene oil content resulting in herbal, wood, and peppery aroma characteristics; it is suitable for any stage of the brewing process.

Type: Dual purpose

Alpha Acid Range: 7-10%

Aroma Notes: Evergreen, wood, and mint

Best Beer Styles: Porter, ale, kölsch, Munich helles, ESB, German lager, California common

Substitutions: Galena, Perle, Magnum, Chinook, German Northern Brewer

Nugget

Description: Bred in 1970 by the USDA breeding program in Oregon and released in 1983, Nugget is a high-alpha cultivar that is beginning to gain some acceptance as a dual-purpose variety. Its lineage includes Brewer’s Gold, Canterbury Golding, and Early Green.

Type: Bittering

Alpha Acid Range: 13-16%

Aroma Notes: Citrus, stone fruit, tropical, and woody

Best Beer Styles: IPA, imperial IPA, ale, stout, barleywine, saison, biere de garde

Substitutions: Galena, Magnum, Columbus

Olympic

Description: Released for commercial production in 1983, Olympic is a descendant of Brewer’s Gold, Fuggle, and East Kent Golding. It is primarily used as a bittering hop; however, some subtle citrus and spice aroma characteristics have been noted.

Type: Dual purpose

Alpha Acid Range: 11.5-13.5%

Aroma Notes: Citrus and spicy

Best Beer Styles: Stout, dark ale, pale ale

Substitutions: Brewers Gold, Chinook, Galena

Palisade®

Description: Developed by Yakima Chief Ranches, Palisade® YCR 4 is known for its high yield and unique aroma profile. With moderate alpha acid, Palisade® borders on being a dual -purpose hop; however, more complex characteristics are seen in later additions.

Type: Aroma

Alpha Acid Range: 6.5-9.5%

Aroma Notes: Apricot, grass, and clean floral characteristics

Best Beer Styles: Golden ale, pale ale, English ales, APA

Substitutions: Styrian Golding, Willamette, Glacier, Chinook

Pahto (HBC 682)

Description: Released by the Hop Breeding Company, Pahto HBC 682 is the first high-alpha bittering hop from HBC that has been considered to provide a smooth bitterness and pleasant mild flavor with a clean finish.

Type: Bittering

Alpha Acid Range: 18-21%

Aroma Notes: Strong, earthy, spicy, and herbal

Best Beer Styles: IPA, pale ale, stout

Substitutions: NA

Pekko®

Description: Pekko is named for the Finnish god of field and crops. Pekko’s complex and clean characteristics of floral, citrus, and mint lend itself to many different styles of beer.

Type: Dual purpose

Alpha Acid Range: 13-16%

Aroma Notes: Citrus, floral, and herbal

Best Beer Styles: Ale, pale ale, pale lager

Substitutions: Saaz, Azacca

Perle (U.S.)

Description: Bred at the Hop Research Institute in Hüll and released in 1978, Perle is a cross between Northern Brewer and 63/5/27M. It is tolerant to most diseases and is grown in both Germany and the United States. Perle is known for adding a traditional, German-like quality to beer.

Type: Dual purpose

Alpha Acid Range: 7-9.5%

Aroma Notes: Floral and spicy

Best Beer Styles: Hefeweizen, Belgian strong ale, lager, pilsner, kölsch

Substitutions: Perle (GR), Northern Brewer (GR)

Sabro®

Description: Sabro® HBC 438 is the newest release from the Hop Breeding Company. Sabro® is an aroma hop that is notable for its complexity of fruity and citrus flavors. Sabro®’s­ pedigree is the result of a unique cross-pollination of a female neomexicanus hop. With a robust brewing performance, Sabro® proves to be a strongly expressive hop that translates its flavor incredibly well into beer.

Type: Dual purpose

Alpha Acid Range: 12-16%

Aroma Notes: Peachy stone fruit, tropical pineapple, and lime with herbal notes of cedar and coconut

Best Beer Styles: IPA, pale ale, fruit beer, porter, and stout

Substitutions: Talus

Santiam

Description: Released in 1997 by the USDA, Santiam is a triploid selection from Tettnang, Hallertau Mittelfrüh, and a cultivar derived from Cascade. It is an American aroma variety with noble hop characteristics.

Type: Aroma

Alpha Acid Range: 6-9%

Aroma Notes: Black pepper, floral, and spice

Best Beer Styles: American blonde ale, American lager, IPA, APA, wheat, bock

Substitutions: Tettnanger, Spalter, Spalter Select, Hallertau, Liberty

Simcoe®

Description: Developed by Yakima Chief Ranches and released in 2000, Simcoe® YCR 14 is known for its brewing versatility and unique aroma characteristics. It contains high alpha and continues to rise in popularity becoming one of the top ten varieties in craft and home brewing industries.

Type: Dual purpose

Alpha Acid Range: 12-15.5%

Aroma Notes: Earthy, passion fruit, pine, and berry

Best Beer Styles: APA, American IPA, American DIPA

Substitutions: Summit, Magnum, Amarillo®, Cascade, Centennial

Sorachi Ace

Description: Developed in Japan in 1984 for Sapporo Breweries, Ltd, Sorachi Ace is a cross between Brewer's Gold, Saaz, and Beikei No. 2 male. It is available in limited quantities; however, it remains a popular variety among craft brewers for its unique citrus fruit, herbal, and dill aromas.

Type: Dual purpose

Alpha Acid Range: 12-15%

Aroma Notes: Lemon, lime, and dill

Best Beer Styles: Saison

Substitutions: Southern Cross

Sterling

Description: Bred in 1990 and released in 1998, Sterling is an aroma variety with noble hop characteristics. Its lineage includes Saaz, Cascade, Brewer’s Gold, and Early Green.

Type: Dual purpose

Alpha Acid Range: 5-8.5%

Aroma Notes: Noble, grassy, and spicy

Best Beer Styles: IPA

Substitutions: Saaz

Summit™

Description: Bred by the American Dwarf Hop Association and released in 2003, Summit™ is a cross between Lexus and an unspecified male derived from numerous hops including Zeus, Nugget, and male USDA varieties. It is the first dwarf hop to be bred for production in the United States. Summit™ is mainly used as a bittering hop but does have earthy aromatic characteristics and subtle hints of citrus.

Type: Bittering

Alpha Acid Range: 15-17%

Aroma Notes: Pepper, incense, anise, orange, pink grapefruit, and tangerine

Best Beer Styles: IPA, imperial IPA, pale ale, stout, barleywine

Substitutions: Apollo, Bravo,CTZ, Zeus, Warrior, Simcoe®

Tahoma

Description: Released by Washington State University in 2013, Tahoma is one of three new public varieties to come to market. It retains the very low cohumulone characteristic of Glacier but displays slightly high alpha acid content. Tahoma is considered to be Cascade-like with a pleasant and predominantly citrus aroma profile.

Type: Aroma

Alpha Acid Range: 6-7.5%

Aroma Notes: Lemon, grapefruit, cedar, pine, spice, and pepper

Best Beer Styles: Blonde ale, wheat, lager

Substitutions: Glacier

Talus®

Description: Talus® delivers big aromas of pink grapefruit, citrus rinds, dried roses, pine resin, tropical fruits, and sage. These unique and impactful aromas remain throughout the brewing process. With Talus, what you smell in the field is what you’ll get in your glass.

Type: Aroma

Alpha Acid Range: 7-10%

Aroma Notes: Grapefruit, herbal, pine, rose, and tropical

Best Beer Styles: IPA, pale ale, wheat ale, golden ale, American lager, India Pale Lager (IPL)

Substitutions: Sabro®

Tomahawk®

Description: See CTZ. Tomahawk® is often referred to as CTZ (Columbus, Tomahawk®, and Zeus).

Type: Bittering

Alpha Acid Range: 15-17.5%

Aroma Notes: Pungent, herbal, spicy, black pepper, licorice, curry, and subtle citrus

Best Beer Styles: American IPA, APA, stout, barleywine, lager

Substitutions: Centennial, Chinook, Galena, Nugget, Millennium

Triumph

Description: Developed by John Hennings, a research geneticist at the USDA, Triumph is an aroma hop produced by crossing Nugget with USDA 21110M. With high yields and excellent brewing quality, this public variety was named for its triumph over other experimental hop varieties both in the field and in the glass—as well as Henning’s love of Triumph brand motorcycles.

Type: Dual purpose

Alpha Acid Range: 12-14%

Aroma Notes: Bubblegum, citrus, herbal, and tropical

Best Beer Styles: Lager, pale ale

Substitutions: Nugget, Hallertau

Ultra

Description: Bred by the hops research program in Corvallis, Oregon, in 1983 and released in 1995 by the USDA, Ultra is a triploid seedling of Hallertau Mittelfrüh and half-sister to Mt. Hood, Liberty, and Crystal. Ultra is related to traditional German varieties and can be utilized in similar applications.

Type: Aroma

Alpha Acid Range: 9.2-9.7%

Aroma Notes: Mild, spicy, and floral bouquet

Best Beer Styles: Oktoberfest, blonde ale, harvest ale, lager, pilsner, pale ale, American lager, bock

Substitutions: Tettnanger (GR), Saaz, Hallertauer Tradition, Liberty

Vanguard

Description: Bred in 1982 by the USDA and released in 1997, Vanguard is an aroma variety with similar characteristics to Hallertau Mittelfrüh. Vanguard is typically utilized in traditional German-style beers as a noble-type variety.

Type: Aroma

Alpha Acid Range: 4.5-6.5%

Aroma Notes: Woody, cedary, earthy, herbal, spicy

Best Beer Styles: Lager, pilsner, bock, kölsch, wheat, Munich helles, Belgian-style ales

Substitutions: Hallertau, German Hersbrucker, Mt. Hood, Liberty

Warrior®

Description: Developed by Yakima Chief Ranches, Warrior® YCR 5 was selected for its high alpha content, low cohumulone, good storage stability, and tolerance to powdery mildew. It is primarily used in brewing for its mild, clean bittering properties.

Type: Bittering

Alpha Acid Range: 15.5-18%

Aroma Notes: Mild, resinous, and subtle pine

Best Beer Styles: IPA, American ale

Substitutions: Nugget, Columbus

Willamette

Description: Released in 1976 from the USDA breeding program, Willamette is a triploid seedling of English Fuggle. For years, it was the most widely grown aroma variety in the U.S. It is named after Oregon’s Willamette River which runs through the heart of the state’s hop-growing region.

Type: Dual purpose

Alpha Acid Range: 4.5-6.5%

Aroma Notes: Floral, incense, and elderberry aromas

Best Beer Styles: Ale, American ale, pale ale, brown ale, English ale, porter

Substitutions: Fuggle, Styrian Golding, Tettnanger (US), Glacier, Styrian Golding

Yakima Gold

Description: Released by Washington State University in 2013, Yakima Gold is a cross between Early Cluster and a native Slovenian male. It is an excellent general-purpose variety with smooth bitterness and pleasant aroma characteristics.

Type:Dual purpose

Alpha Acid Range: 7-8%

Aroma Notes: Citrus, herbal, woody

Best Beer Styles: English ale, German ale, pale ale, IPA, mild ale

Substitutions: Cluster

Zeus

Description: Although genetically different, Zeus is often referred to as part of CTZ along with Columbus and Tomahawk®, a trio of similar hops.

Type: Bittering

Alpha Acid Range: 12-18%

Aroma Notes: Spicy, herbal, pungent, black pepper, licorice, and curry

Best Beer Styles: American IPA, APA, stout, barleywine, lager

Substitutions: Columbus, Centennial, Chinook, Galena, Nugget, Millennium

Zythos®

Description: Named in honor of the Greek word for beer, Zythos® was designed to complement existing IPA and pale ale hop varieties. It is an excellent blend for any hop-forward beer. Specific aroma descriptors include distinct tropical (pineapple) and citrus tones with slight pine characteristics.

Type: Aroma

Alpha Acid Range: 8-12%

Aroma Notes: Pineapple, citrus, and mild pine character

Best Beer Styles: American ale, IPA, pale ale

Substitutions: Simcoe, Amarillo®, Cascade

Looking for More Guides on Hops Around the World?

Man sitting at outdoor table in hop field at Firestone Walker Brewing Company
Photography courtesy of Firestone Walker Brewing Company

What About Southern Hemisphere Hops?

Check out: The Complete Guide to Southern Hemisphere Hops

What About European/Noble Hops?

Check out: The Complete Guide to European Noble Hops

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Grace Weitz
Post by Grace Weitz
August 22, 2022
Grace is the Managing Editor for Hop Culture and Untappd. She also organizes and produces the largest weeklong women in craft beer festival in the country, Beers With(out) Beards and the first-ever festival celebrating the colorful, vibrant voices in the queer community in craft beer, Queer Beer. An avid craft beer nerd Grace always found a way to work with beer. After graduating with a journalism degree from Northwestern University, she attended culinary school before working in restaurant management. She moonlighted as a brand ambassador at 3 Sheeps Brewing Co on the weekends before moving into the beer industry full time as an account coordinator at 5 Rabbit Cerveceria. Grace holds her Masters degree in the Food Studies program at NYU.