The Different Types of Hops in Beer

Hops are a fundamental ingredient in making beer and have been that way for a very long time. Brewers incorporate hops into their beer for a variety of reasons, but mainly as a means of bittering the drink.

Hops are considered by professionals and enthusiasts alike as one of the four main ingredients in beer, with them all being as follows:

  • Hops
  • Grain
  • Yeast
  • Water

Thanks to the heavy use of hops in recent years by both craft brewers and larger mainstream companies, they have quickly become the main character of beer ingredients. Hops are a household name for a reason.

There are many different types of hops these days that can be used in beer, each having a different effect. Read on to find out all the different types of hop varieties!

What Are Hops?

Wondering what hops are? Don’t worry, here’s everything you need to know about these special little flowers.

Hops come from green, cone-shaped flowers of a plant called Humulus lupulus that is found all over the world. Humulus lupulus is a flowering plant within the Cannabaceae hemp family native to regions such as Europe, Western Asia, and North America (which all have significant histories of alcohol brewing, as well).

The hop cones contain small, yellow glands called lupulin, which, when extracted and added to beer, gives it the trademark bitterness associated with hops. These additions also can be used for flavoring, stability, preservatives, and aromatic enhancement. Hops grow well in moderate climates with abundant sun and soil.

How Hops Are Used

Once the lupulin within the hops is gathered, brewers add them to the kettle boil to unleash their bitter flavors into the beer as it cooks. It is typical for these elements to be added towards the end of the boil so that the flavors don’t become overpowering.

Hops are closely associated with bitterness in brewing, but they have other utility beyond that. If brewers choose to dry hop or fresh hop their beer, it could have a completely different effect on what the hops do. Dry hopping is when you add in the hops very late in the brewing process, while fresh or wet hopping is when you throw recently picked hops right in at any point during the brew.

There’s a wide variety of hops out there that can be used in unique ways for equally unique results. Today, all beers contain hops in some form, but some are more hop-focused than others. For example, IPAs tend to be particularly hoppy brews and are therefore relatively high on the scale of International Bitterness Units, or IBUs.

Types of Hops

Here is a list of some of the most popular hops out there for beer making, as well as the types of beer that feature them and where you can find them.

Of course, the list of hops doesn’t end here, so honorable mentions include Citra hops, known for adding tropical fruit characters and peach notes, Willamette hops, which introduce bright flavors, and Tettnanger hops, which are often found in blond ales.

Cascade

These types of hops were developed (and popularized) in the 1950s by a man named Jack Horner of Oregon State University. Cascade hops have become one of the most widely used hops available —as much as 10% of all American hops grown are Cascade hops.

As far as flavor goes, Cascade is known for creating a delicious citrus-based flavor profile that can even taste like grapefruit. While this kind of hop is versatile within beer, it is most commonly used in American pale ales.

Cascade hops are used in American pale ales, India pale ales, American porters, blonde ales, and many more. Some notable examples of this are as follows:

Oyster Bay IPA

This classic IPA is a product of Oyster Bay Brewing Company of New York and offers buyers a mixture of Cascade, Mosaic, and Centennial Hops. The final result is a strong beer with a wonderful grapefruit aroma.

Nordic Pilsner

This delicious pilsner created by Olso Brewing Company offers a unique Norwegian twist on the style. This beer is known for being bright, creamy, and fragrant while using three different types of hops: Cascade, Saaz, and Wakatu.

Saaz

Saaz hops are one of the four original noble hops that have been around for a very, very long time. Saaz has become an essential hop for European beer brewing after its development in feudal Bohemia (aka modern-day Germany).

This kind of hop is world-renowned for its usage in beers like Stella Artois and many pilsners and lagers. It is most known for being used as an aroma hop as opposed to one focused on bittering.

Saaz is a rockstar of hops, and here are some notable examples of beers that use them:

Shower Beer Pilsner

This Bohemian Pilsner comes from Champion Brewing Company of Charlottesville, Virginia. This beer stands out by using only traditional Czech Saaz hops in its brew, making it a crisp drink.

Flora Firma

This dry-hopped beer is produced by Drowned Lands Brewery of Warwick, New York. This table beer creates a special combination of malts, wheat, rye, oats, and (most importantly) Saaz hops.

Centennial

Centennial was developed as a combination between Brewer’s Gold, Fuggle, East Kent Golding, and Bavarian hops known as a sort of “super Cascade.”

This style of hop is famous for being versatile through a mixture of bitterness and intense aroma. It is particularly popular among craft brewers because it gives beer a floral flavor.

Centennial hops are most often used in American pale ales, India pale ales, and sours. They are not as widely used as Cascade hops but essentially have the same appeal.

Here are a handful of popular beers which feature Centennial hops:

One Night in Williamsburg

A fruity sour developed by Virginia Beer Company, this beer is truly one-of-a-kind. It embraces both Centennial hops with pineapple purée. Once combined, the beer becomes a refreshingly tart, tropical beverage.

Saving Daylight

This citrusy beer, also from Virginia Beer Company, utilizes three key ingredients in the brewing process: Centennial hops, orange peels, and grapefruit. Saving Daylight is one of the more unique American pale wheat beers on the market.

Chinook

This type of hop is interesting amongst its peers for being acceptable during any stage of a beer boil, unlike most hops. Chinook is described as having a pine-like flavor with hints of grapefruit. It was first introduced in Washington state.

Chinook has become more popular over the years, with craft brewers making American pale ales, IPAs, and even seasonal ales. They are also featured in barley wine, porters, and stouts.

Finback IPA

This bitter, dank, and hoppy IPA was created by Finback Brewery of Queens, New York. This beer brings in a mix of Chinook and Columbus hops. Finback is noted for its cloudy yellow appearance, foamy white foam, and dank hop resins.

Sliced Nectarine IPA

This bright, tropical IPA was produced by Moody Tongue Brewing Company of Chicago, IL. By utilizing stone fruits to balance the citrusy taste of Chinook hops, the Sliced Nectarine IPA features a crisp, refreshing profile.

Nugget

Nugget hops have always been noted for their excellence by featuring super alpha acid, low beta content, and low cohumulone percentages. Because of these elements, Nugget has an appealing bitterness popularly used in IPAs and Imperials.

Nugget hops are becoming more and more popular with every passing year, and as a result, many beers use them. Some of the most popular examples are as follows:

Fat Tire Amber Ale

This easy-to-drink beer comes from the New Belgium Brewing Company of Fort Collins, Colorado. Fat Tire Amber Ale features an amber body, a white head, and a malted caramel flavor.

Resin

This incredibly hoppy beer is produced by the Sixpoint Brewery of Brooklyn, New York. Resin is a uniquely hoppy alcoholic beverage famous for being a powerful beer that fully utilizes the botanical structure of hops like Nugget.

Hippity Hoppity

Hops are a word you hear a lot when discussing beer. It’s one of those terms that everyone understands is associated with the wonderfully bitter taste of their favorite brew. If you pressed a friend at the bar about what their beer tastes like, they’d probably shrug and say, “hoppy?”.

At this point, you’re the mastermind of hop knowledge. Hops are a complex but critical element of brewing beer that should be understood and respected.

So sit back, relax, and explore the wild world of hoppy beer firsthand. If you’re interested in trying one (or all) of the hops and beers mentioned in this article, then there’s only one place you should go: TapRm.

Sources:

What The Hell Are Hops, Anyway? | Huffpost

Hops: Uses, Side Effects, and More | WebMD

Hoppy | Merriam-Webster

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