Know Your Hops: A Guide for Aspiring Beer Snobs
Used since 1972
The USDA and Oregon State University’s collaborative hop breeding program struck gold with Cascade—now the definitive aroma hop of American craft brewing, constituting nearly 17 percent of the nation’s hop harvest in 2014.
Flavor profile: Floral, grapefruit
Experience: Deschutes Mirror Pond Pale Ale
Used since 1983
OSU’s Hallertau hybrid is low on alpha acids (read: less bitter) but high in myrcene oil (a perfumy compound found also in verbena, lemongrass, and snapdragons).
Flavor profile: Delicate, spicy, floral
Experience: Bridgeport Trilogy 1
Used since 2000
Released by hop breeder Yakima Chief Ranch, this hop is a high-yield monster tailored for brewers looking to break the bitterness bank.
Flavor profile: Lemon, pineapple, pine
Experience: Heathen Brewing Son of Malice Imperial IPA
Used since 2000
Another Yakima Chief product and a favorite “foundation” hop among craft brewers, Simcoe is known for its aromatic complexity and bittering utility.
Flavor profile: Passion fruit, apricot, intense pine, musk
Experience: Double Mountain IRA
Used since 2007
This juicy little cone from Washington’s Hop Breeding Company (HBC) has attained the status of “hype hop”—popping up in bold, single-hop brews like Three Floyds’ Zombie Dust (Indiana) and Against the Grain’s Citra Ass Down (Kentucky).
Flavor profile: Strong citrus, tropical fruit (melon, mango, papaya)
Experience: Widmer Citra Blonde Summer Brew
Used since 2012
Production of HBC’s big, bold daughter-of-Simcoe (bred with Nugget, another OSU standby) outpaced every other variety in Washington state in 2014.
Flavor profile: Blueberry, tangerine, floral, earthy
Experience: Fearless Mosaic IPA