For a large portion of brewers and craft beer enthusiasts, hops are the be-all-end-all of beer. Providing bitterness, flavor, and aroma, the Humulus lupulus is an extremely important plant for brewers.
There are hundreds of hops on the market, with the list growing larger every year. Certain classics – whether that’s citrusy American Cascade and Amarillo, or the spicy and herbal Noble hops – will never fade in popularity. But every so often a new variety comes along that shakes up the beer world.
Let’s take a look at some of the most exciting hops to use in 2021. From new-to-market hops to a few hidden gems due for a resurgence, add these varieties to your next hop order.
IPA brewers have to be excited about one of the hottest new hops on the market, Eclipse. It’s a high alpha Australian hop, derived from a cross pollination of Australian and American varieties.
Use Eclipse anywhere you might use Galaxy, but expect less guava and more classic American citrus. It packs a serious punch and will take center stage if given the chance. Try it in a single hopped NEIPA or mix it with some Mosaic or Citra for an intense citrus explosion.
|Flavors||Juicy Fruit Gum, Mandarin Orange, Citrus Zest, Fresh Pine|
|Beer Styles||IPA, NEIPA, IIPA|
|Alpha Acids||15.7 - 18.7%|
|Beta Acids||5.9 - 9.0%|
|Total Oils||1.7 - 1.9 mL/100g|
Sabro has seen a quick rise over the last year. The hop’s popularity has skyrocketed among commercial brewers, and homebrewers have had more and more access.
With descriptors like coconut and vanilla, you may think it’s more suited for an ice cream shop than a brew kettle. Still, the creaminess of the coconut profile plays really well in NEIPAs, and definitely milkshake IPAs.
It makes an awesome single hop beer, but can also be used in tandem with other tropically inclined hops like Galaxy, Enigma, or Mosaic.
|Flavors||Coconut, Pina Colada, Tangerine, Vanilla Cream|
|Beer Styles||Pale Ale, IPA, NEIPA, IIPA, Milkshake IPA, American Wheat|
|Alpha Acids||12.0 - 16.0%|
|Beta Acids||4.0 - 7.0%|
|Total Oils||2.5 - 3.5 mL/100g|
Still officially unnamed, HBC 630 is an experimental hop released by Yakima Chief Hops. It’s bursting with tropical fruit but backed up by a creamy, dessert or smoothie-like character.
Not unlike Sabro, HBC 630 is extremely fruity, unique, and mouthwatering. Flavors of coconut peer through, providing an interesting hop for single-hop beers or mixed in with other New World varieties.
|Flavors||Cherry, Banana, Peach, Raspberry, Coconut|
|Beer Styles||IPA, NEIPA, IIPA, Milkshake IPA|
|Alpha Acids||13.6 - 14.0%|
|Beta Acids||5.6 - 6.3%|
|Total Oils||2.5 - 3.0 mL/100g|
Of course, we have to include some ever-popular Kiwi hops. New Zealand hop farmers produce some of the most unique hops in the world.
Nectaron is a new variety packed with a completely unique and very juicy character. It can be used in a wide range of styles, taking a lead in an IPA or adding fruity complexity to a saison or wheat beer.
|Flavors||Pineapple, Nectarine, Grapefruit, Passion Fruit|
|Beer Styles||IPA, NEIPA, IIPA, Saison, Wheat Ales, IPL|
|Alpha Acids||10.0 - 12.0%|
|Beta Acids||4.5 - 5.0%|
|Total Oils||1.0 - 1.5 mL/100g|
A new personal favorite, Talus brings forward some very intense and exciting flavors. As a daughter of Sabro, you know you can expect something funky and unconventional.
Bright tropical fruit is complimented by a herbaceous and floral sweetness, with notes of pithy citrus. Even a simple SMASH IPA with Pilsner malt and a neutral yeast will blow your mind using a decent sized helping of Talus.
|Flavors||Grapefruit Rind, Rose Petal, Tropical Fruit, Resin|
|Beer Styles||IPA, NEIPA, IIPA, Saison, IPL|
|Alpha Acids||8.1 - 9.5%|
|Beta Acids||8.3 - 10.2%|
|Total Oils||2.0 - 2.7 mL/100g|
Classic but with a resinous and dank punch, Sultana is a very interesting new hop. Instead of going for the American classics – like Cascade, Centennial, or Amarillo – consider Sultana for a little modern touch.
It has an old-school American IPA vibe but with a more contemporary, fruit-forward complexity. It’s oily and sticky, making it great for hazy IPA as well.
|Flavors||Dank, Resin, Pineapple, Citrus|
|Beer Styles||Pale Ale, IPA, NEIPA, IIPA|
|Alpha Acids||13.0 - 15.0%|
|Beta Acids||4.0 - 5.0%|
|Total Oils||2.5 - 4.0 mL/100g|
Along with Sabro, Strata hops have recently exploded throughout the craft beer scene. Hazy IPA brewers love the versatility and extremely fruit-forward complexity of this new variety.
Use Strata anywhere you might use Galaxy, or other Aussie hops like Ella and Enigma. It stands up very well in a single hop beer, but can also be amplified by mixing in candy-like fruity flavors. Think of the likes of Cashmere, Mosaic, or even Nelson Sauvin.
|Flavors||Mixed Berry, Bubblegum, Melon|
|Beer Styles||IPA, NEIPA, IIPA|
|Alpha Acids||11.0 - 14.0%|
|Beta Acids||4.5 - 6.0%|
|Total Oils||2.3 - 3.5 mL/100g|
Not a brand new hop, but a recent spotlight has been shone on Riwaka. Used in IPA by world-class breweries like Hill Farmstead, Riwaka is highly coveted.
The hop is low alpha, but with a balanced ratio between alpha and beta acids, contributing to a strong citrus profile. The very zesty character works across nearly every style, my preference being in delicately dry hopped Pale Ales.
If you can get your hands on Riwaka, don’t hesitate. It’s unique, but with a certain classic, almost noble quality, making it a treat to brew with.
|Beer Styles||Pilsner, Blonde Ale, Pale Ale, IPA, NEIPA, Saison|
|Alpha Acids||4.5 - 6.5%|
|Beta Acids||4.0 - 5.0%|
|Total Oils||1.2 - 1.7 mL/100g|
Comet is a strange hop that’s been around since the ‘60s. It has always served as a good bittering hop due to its high alpha acids. In recent years, there’s been a growing interest in Comet due to its fruity, citrusy aroma and flavor qualities.
Comet might be a tricky hop to convince you to try. But if you can get your hands on a fresh crop, you will fall in love with the classic pithy grapefruit undertones complimented by a dank, resinous punch.
|Flavors||Citrus, Woody, Resin, Herbal|
|Beer Styles||Pilsner, Pale Ale, American IPA, New England IPA|
|Alpha Acids||9.0 - 12.0%|
|Beta Acids||3.0 - 6.0%|
|Total Oils||1.4 - 3.3 mL/100g|
There’s no denying that lagers, especially Pilsners, are on the uptick in the craft beer world. IPA won’t be leaving the top spot for years, but we’re super happy to see amazing quality craft lagers dot the beer landscape around the world.
Most lager brewers favor the noble hops – and for good reason. They’re consistent, packed with flavor, and connect to a wide audience flavor-wise. French hops, mainly from the Alsace region, are also a great option for lagers, with a few new varieties recently hitting the market.
We love mixing in Elixir for a very nice herbaceous and woody character. Mistral works great in hop-forward lagers, playing on floral and lemony notes.
Triskel, related to French Strisselspalt will surely work well in lagers, but we also love it for Belgian Saison and Biere de Garde.
|Flavors||Pine, Tropical Fruit, Resin, Tobacco|
|Beer Styles||Pilsner, Saison, Blonde Ale, Porter|
|Alpha Acids||4.6 - 6.5%|
|Beta Acids||5.8 - 6.6%|
|Total Oils||1.4 - 2.0 mL/100g|
|Flavors||Rose Petal, Citrus, Sweet Berry|
|Beer Styles||Pilsner, Saison, Blonde Ale, IPA, Dry-hopped Sour|
|Alpha Acids||6.5 - 8.5%|
|Beta Acids||3.1 - 3.8%|
|Total Oils||0.8 - 1.5 mL/100g|
|Flavors||Spicy, Herbal, Fruity|
|Beer Styles||Pilsner, Helles, Saison, Blonde Ale, Belgian Ales|
|Alpha Acids||8.0 - 9.0%|
|Beta Acids||4.0 - 4.7%|
|Total Oils||1.5 - 2.0 mL/100g|