Expert Topic New Year, New Hops, New Flavors

Photo by John Holl

A new year means another opportunity to get excited about newly named hops hitting the marketplace as well as a slew of innovations in the hop industry. There are nearly a dozen newly named hop varieties available this year and a push into oils that can play a big role in the hotly emerging category of hop water.

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John I. Haas Inc. has two hops that they are excited to talk about, HBC 586 and HBC 1134, says Jeff Dailey, Sensory Manager, Brewing Solutions

“From our side, HBC 586 is coming on strong and we’re going to make a big show of it at the craft brewers conference. HBC 1019 has been showing really well and we would like to name that as soon as possible because of the excitement in the community. HBC 1134 is really exciting for us. It’s our actual American noble hop. It’s performing really well.”

HBC 1134

It’s a pure daughter of Hersbrucker, says Dailey. The alphas are still on the higher side, he notes, along with the oil.

“Unlike Laurel, it’s our actual American noble hop. I believe it’s something like nine or 10 on alpha and 1.5 on oil,” he says. “But it does have that European land race character to it, just amplified a little bit.”

As one might imagine, it has trialed exceptionally well in lagers. The hop brings a nice firm bitterness that plays well in traditional pilsners, rather than some of the newer “west coast pilsners” that have been taking off in popularity.

“It feels familiar, says Alejandro Cortés González, a Brewing Solutions Specialist. “The bitterness is a little different, and you can tell this is an American hop made for lagers, slightly citrusy, slightly herbal, and hitting the same notes you’d expect from a European hop.

About HBC 1019

“This is the hop that every brewer’s accountant wishes Sabro was,” says Dailey. “It has just the barest hint of that neomexicanus, has the boldness that some brains will think of as coconut, but it’s not really coconut. It big and potent and it carries through with these really nice luscious stone fruits, caramelized pineapple, and fleshy banana without it being isoamyl acetate. It’s like the slightly overripe bananas that you’re about to put into banana bread. There’s just an underlayer of that, and it ties the tropical and stone fruit together.”

Other brewers have described HBC 1019 as peaches and cream and unlike Sabro the Haas folks say it works well with other hops and doesn’t need to be dialed back to get a balanced profile. It plays well, they say, in hazy IPAs.

Oils and more in the pipeline.

Hopkick was a product that received a lot of attention last year, says Dailey. It’s been popping up in the growing hop water category, which is serving as a welcome alternative to many NA beers.

Hop companies are also looking to create new products that go beyond the traditional offerings, with several hinting at a reveal during the upcoming craft brewers conference.

“There’s still some strong next level hops that have been in the system for a while like HBC 638, which is that Centennial-cryo sort of thing. It’s amplified all the citrus and even the cherry goes in a big jammy direction with some cannabis underneath it,” says Dailey.

Alora from Hopsteiner

The hop variety previously known as HS17701 received the name Alora from Hopesteiner last year and is being rolled out to brewing customers.

“Alora™ is best known for her unique oil composition,” the company writes. “Unlike most hop varietals that contain what we in the industry call the “big 8” oil groups (Pinene, Myrcene, Limonene, Linalool, Caryophyllene, Farnesene, Humulene, and Geraniol), Alora™ contains over 50% of unidentified total oil uncommon in hop chemistry. Further analysis has revealed a large percentage of this “unidentified” category type to be Selinene – a sesquiterpene rarely found in hops. This rare chemical trait found in Alora™ contributes to its unique flavor/aroma composition.”

Alora means “beautiful dream, dreamlike, or divine light” and the company says it works well in everything from IPA to lagers boasting aromas and flavors of apricot, melon, peach, and yuzu.

Clayton Hops push Amplifire

As the 2024 hop harvest in the southern hemisphere gets closer, Clayton Hops is looking to introduce brewers to Amplifire, a fresh hop oil that is a “water-soluble liquid dry hop or brite tank addition product. The product is designed to boost flavour and aroma as well as beer yields and is super easy to use. It is also a great product for hop water.”

The company says the oils are extracted from whole cones on harvest day without pelletizing or drying in advance, making it free of bittering components.

2024 and Beyond

With the industry in flux and consumers looking for new flavors in established styles, brewers will be looking to the hop growers and companies for insight on how to bring bold or nuanced flavors to the glass.

“We’re still going through a phase in which some hot varieties or hot products that were overlooked in the past my might have a comeback,” says Dailey.

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