4 New Public Hop Varieties!
Written by Jason Youngblood on April 17, 2014 in The Beer Diaries
The Hop Growers of America presented four new hops at this year’s Craft Brewers Conference – Cashmere, Tahoma, Triple Pearl and Yakima Gold. Three Single-hop beers brewed with the new hop strains were also given to the attendees of the seminar and a group tasting of each one took place. A panel of distinguished brewers presented the hops and the beers that were made with them. The brewers were: Matt Brynildson from Firestone Walker, Scott Dorsch of Odell, John Mallett of Bell’s, and Tom Nielsen of Sierra Nevada.
Cashmere was the first new hop to be introduced. Released by Washington State University in 2013, this hop is a direct daughter of Cascade. Though closely related to Cascade it has many unique flavor and aroma characteristics. Brynildson said “I get coconut on the rub, I don’t find coconut in hops very often.” Its aroma is described as having strong melon, fruity (lemon, lime peel, pineapple), coconut, and spicy notes. Cashmere contains more alpha acid than Cascade, twice as much humulene, and no farnesene. The beer was nice and smooth and had a wonderful nose and aftertaste. This will be a hop to watch for as production ramps up. There is very limited availability right now.
Next up was Tahoma, which was also released by Washington State University in 2013. It is a daughter of Glacier and retains the low cohumulone characteristics of its parent while also providing a higher alpha acid content. Tahoma is a very citrusy variety. Its aroma is described as having citrus notes (lemon, grapefruit), along with cedar, pine, and spicy notes. Tahoma also retains its acid content in storage well and is a very stable hop. It will also be hard to get a hold of Tahoma this year but several hundred acres are in the ground.
Triple Pearl was introduced next. As you may guess from the name it is a triploid daughter of Perle. “Triploids are a good way of getting more positive characteristics from the parents while avoiding the negative ones” said Scott Dorsch. Triploids also have the benefit of producing heavier cones and lower seed production even in high seed years. This hop was released by the USDA-ARS in late 2013. Its aroma is described as mellow and pleasant, reflecting citrus (orange, rind/zest), melon, resin, pepper, and spicy notes. The beer carried some spice and citrus but was an earthier spice than Tahoma. It will be tough to get a hold of this one in any quantity for a while as well.
There was enough time left in their presentation that they presented a fourth new hop! Yakima Gold is a cross between early Cluster and a native Slovenian male. Yakima Gold should not be confused with the hop family known as Golding. Described as having aggressive American hop aromatics, this may come from the cluster parentage. This hop has an intense amount of farnesene in the oil. Some brewers associate this with noble hop aroma. Other high farnesene hops include Cascade, Saaz, Spalt, and Tettnang. This will definitely be another hop to be on the lookout for.
Craft beer is continually evolving both in the US and internationally. Craft beer consumers’ tastes are also evolving. It’s going to be important in the next decade to have new ingredients to craft new flavors, hops being a very essential one. Last year IPA was the leading category of craft beer sold in the US and is steadily growing. With the ever-increasing numbers of craft breweries popping up, it’s going to be important to ensure that there are a variety of healthy hops strains available to brewers. It takes about 12 years to bring a new hop variety from research to market. All of the hops announced have just made it out of research and will take a couple of years until they are available in large quantities. All four varieties will be useful to craft brewers looking for new flavors and characteristics in their hops.