Whether by chance or design, beer hops from different parts of the world have their own distinct characteristics and flavor. Here are five of the most popular beer hops from around the world, and you’ll be buying them by the pound once you get a taste.
1. America’s Simcoe
Unlike most American hops that are heavy on the citrus, Simcoe has a much more diverse flavor profile. Simcoe is a multi-purpose hop. As a bittering agent, it produces clean and smooth bitterness while adding slight earthy and fruity notes.
As a flavoring hop, it imparts a wide array of flavors and aroma. It has both fruit and pine tones as well as more herbal and earthy tones. Distinct flavors of berries, passion fruit, and citrus stand out from the subtler pine, herbal, and earthy tones. You might find that surprising because the aroma is overwhelmingly pine and earth. All these flavors come together in a complex and unique blend that is as aromatic as it is flavorful.
2. Australia’s Galaxy
If you like the American Citra, you’d probably like Galaxy. Galaxy has a similar flavor profile to Citra — all fruit and citrus. No spice, herbal, earth, or pine tones whatsoever to get in the way of the fruity goodness. This pure fruit profile has consistently landed Galaxy into the Top 10 of the most popular hops in the world. Though Galaxy stands out as a flavoring hop, it is also quite suitable for bittering or in combination with a different hop. Galaxy creates strong flavors of passion fruit, peach, and citrus.
3. The British Challenger
Challenger is a multipurpose hop that has gained a lot of popularity for its bittering use. As a bittering agent, it produces smooth bitterness while imparting floral and spicy aromas. It is a great addition to any fruity or citrusy hop, giving the resulting blend a little more depth and character. On its own, Challenger creates floral and spice tones commonly found in British porters, stouts, and ales.
4. Germany’s Spalt
As one of the noble hops, Spalt has been around ever since the 8th century. Spalt is a little hard to come by as yields are low and demands are high. Spalt is often used to add strong aromas of herb and earth into a brew, often in tandem with a different flavoring hop. However, for more traditional German brews like ale and lager, Spalt can be used on its own. It imparts herbal and earthy flavors in its blends, so it is suitable to more mature beer drinkers.
5. New Zealand’s Nelson Sauvin
Wine drinkers may get a little once they try a brew made from Nelson Sauvin. The name itself is taken from Sauvignon Blanc, a winemaking grape. Nelson Sauvin is a multi-purpose hop, but it is more popularly used solely as a flavoring agent. It imparts flavors of mango, lychee, and gooseberries along with a very distinct tone similar to white wine. It produces sharp aromas of tropical fruit, spice, and earth tones.
In the end, these are five hops with unique flavors. Brew them individually or mix and match until you create your ideal brew.