Skip to main content

High on Hops: Experimental Hop Varieties

Hops, Grow your own hops
After you’ve sampled enough beer, you start to pay close attention to things like hops.

For drinkers consumed with getting the most hop bite possible, researching International Bitterness Units (IBUs) becomes a religion. That’s an easy enough road to travel. But for those looking to understand the more subtle aromatic or flavor profiles available from hops, knowing the individual hop varietal names becomes important.

Related Videos

The old standbys of Willamette, Cascade and Saaz are still around, each providing mild bases for all-purpose brewing. As palates for more extreme flavors have grown, the rise of new, trendy hops like Citra, Galaxy and Falconer’s Flight have come to the fore. But even these fairly recent hop creations are already being edged out by experimental hops so new they don’t even have proper names yet.

Hop Breeding Company is making many of these new strains available directly to home brewers and commercial breweries alike. Recognized by its use of the “HBC” prefix, these hops are re-creating favorite varieties with new twists and forging new profiles. “HBC 342” is a dual usage hop that addresses aroma and flavor by infusing citrus notes like melon and mango.

In the United Kingdom, Charles Faram Hop Merchants is similarly looking to crack the code on new hop creations. Named using the “CF” prefix, these hops are bringing the stalwart hop producer, in business since 1865, into the modern age. CF103 (or Duchess) is prominently showcased in Eden Brewery’s Antifreeze for floral, pepper and spicy notes.

Sierra Nevada has been bringing experimental hops to the masses with its Harvest : Newly Developed Hop IPA. This beer allows the seasoned craft brewery to test out fresh flavors and hopping techniques against a large sample group. The hops in this release, listed only as 472, 05256, 431, and 06300 bring in a multitude of complementary sensations such as cedar, coconut, chocolate and orange.

Related Post: Best Chocolate Beers

Deschutes’ Hop Henge IPA utilizes newcomers Millennium, Mandarina Bavaria and still-numbered hops into a brew brimming with fleshy orange sweetness, grapefruit bitterness and a cracker-malt base.

As with any new endeavor, trial and error will play in to whether any of these new, experimental hop varieties will become mainstream. But with the continued growth in craft beer, differentiating brews by use of new hops will be a big trend as breweries attempt to push the flavor envelope.

Editors' Recommendations

The 7 best CBD-infused drinks we tried in 2023
These tasty CBD-infused drinks will have you feeling calmer in no time
Cans o RisEau cbd drinks.

Cannabidiol, or CBD, has been hot for a while now, making its way into everything from CBD teas to a variety of CBD coffee brands. If you're wondering "what is CBD?" — it's a naturally occurring compound present in cannabis plants. According to the World Health Organization, it's not addictive, has a solid safety profile, and won't get you high. In clinical trials, it's been effective in the treatment of epilepsy and shows promise in treating a number of other conditions.

In addition to CBD-infused water, tea, soda, and seltzer, another growing trend is CBD-infused nonalcoholic spirits and cocktails. The adult beverage market is flooded with CBD products promising to help you relax, sleep, destress, and mellow out, all without the hangover you'd get from booze (CBD is considered a controlled substance and can't be legally added to booze, at least not yet). We've rounded up a few of our favorite CBD-infused drinks below, from CBD cocktails to CBD water, so you can work your relaxation into your daily routine no matter where you are.

Read more
Here’s how to make a margarita, according to top bartenders
The only margarita recipes you'll ever need
margarita tequila cocktail lime strainer

The best margaritas do not grow on trees, nor do they show up in a can (although there are some tasty canned drinks these days). No, the tastiest version of the tequila classic is made fresh, with love and care and some wisdom from a couple of top bartenders.

It's a balancing act, for sure, but when it's dialed-in, the margarita is one of the best and most refreshing cocktails ever devised. The classic mix of agave spirit, lime, salt, and a touch of sweetness is great alone or with any number of dishes, especially within Mexican cuisine (the nation where the drink was born).

Read more
Bubbly? Full-bodied and red? Zesty and white? Your favorite wine types, explained
All the primary types of wine (and everything you need to know about them)
Glasses of different kinds of wine

Trying to understand everything about wine all at once is an impossible endeavor. Wine is a beautifully complicated, ever-changing quiddity, and even the most decorated and prestigious wine experts in the world often find themselves confounded by its constant little surprises.
That isn't to say that, if you care to, you shouldn't become educated on the subject of wine. It's a hobby and a passion that's tremendously fun to pursue, and there's much to learn on the matter.
If you find yourself in the beginning stages of your wine education, just as in everything, you'll want to start with the basics. It's possible that up until now, you haven't put much thought into the several different kinds of wine there are, except for, say, red and white. But while there are obviously exceptions within every hard and fast rule, for the most part, wine can be broken down into roughly nine categories. Here we'll take a minute to break those categories down, explain what they mean, which wines fall into them, and, our favorite - how to drink those wines.

Sparkling wine

Read more