Gone are the days of dull noble hops that tasted and ranked of herbs and wood. In modern brewing circles, the flavor is the name of the game. Fruit-flavored brews are the most sought after in the US and breweries are ditching tradition for flavor. Get the fruitiest hop and add flavor to your IPAs and lagers.
Citra is credited for the current brewing boom in the U.S. and around the world. Citra’s overwhelmingly citrusy and fruity flavor profile attracted hordes of followers and created the biggest jump in brewery numbers in the nation. Citra is all fruit with no hints of spice, pine, or earth tones. To date, Citra is considered the most citrusy hop in existence, with its competitors lagging far behind. Citra hops contain a dominant lime flavor with undertones of grapefruit, mango, and orange.
Citra is primarily a flavoring hop and can be a bit bitter if used as a bittering hop. Warrior, Magnum, and Horizon are better options for bittering. They provide crisp and clean bitterness without interfering with Citra’s flavoring.
Strata hop is the only hop, aside from Huell Melon, with distinct notes of strawberry. Earlier harvests had more pronounced melon and mango flavors, but recent iterations have strawberry at the forefront. Strata is not a pure fruit hop. It contains herbal and earthy notes, which cannabis users might find familiar. The popular U. S. Strata hop is a dual-purpose hop and it acts similar to Centennial or Amarillo when used for bittering. Pair it with fruity hops like Galaxy and Citra for more flavor, or pair it with Simcoe and Mosaic for more mature brews. Strata is a fairly new hop so you have a much better chance of finding them in online stores.
Next to Citra, Galaxy is considered as one of the fruitiest hops in existence. Galaxy is pure fruit with peach notes dominating its profile with undertones of pineapple and tropical fruit. It is probably the most successful foreign hop in the U.S. Australian hop is widely popular in the states as well as in Europe and parts of Asia. Galaxy is often compared to Citra in terms of fruitiness. While Galaxy may not have citrus levels of Citra, most drinkers find it more flavorful and clean. Galaxy is a dual-purpose hop and works quite well as a bittering hop. Unlike most imports, Galaxy is widely available in stores or online.
The most wine-like brews will come from New Zealand’s Nelson Sauvin. The hop produces flavors and notes similar to Sauvignon Blanc — to the point that it might be overwhelming to the average beer drinker. However, wine aficionados will love its grape flavors as well as the strong aromas that characterize good wine. More sensitive palates might detect slight tones of mangoes and lychee underneath the white wine flavor. Hallertau Blanc is another hop that provides distinct flavors of white wine — however, it is not as clean as Nelson Sauvin. The German hop is not as sweet and a peppery taste distracts from its wine-like flavors.
A German hop wins when it comes to replicating orange or tangerine-like flavors. Mandarina Bavaria almost severs its ties with its noble lineage with its modern fruity flavors more akin to American hops. As its name suggests, the hop has strong notes of Mandarin orange. There is little to no trace of spice or earth typical to the noble hops to whom it traces its lineage. Mandarina Bavaria is primarily a flavoring hop and is unsuited for bittering. Pair it with more neutral hops like Warrior or Magnum, or with a similarly citrusy hop like Galaxy.
Grapefruit might be an uncommon descriptor — however, the UK’s Herald takes it to a whole new level. Herald’s grapefruit tones are clear and distinct, overwhelming its flavor profile. It is quite aromatic and works well as both a flavoring and bittering hop. While the English use it primarily for darker ales, it also works well for IPAs and lagers.
Beer and bananas might not be the combination you’re expecting — but it is possible with Taurus. The German hop produces notes of bananas mixed with chocolate, chili, pepper, and curry. Taurus is one of the most unique hops when it comes to its flavor profile, and most breweries use it for novelty drinks. Taurus can also be considered a health drink, with its high levels of xanthohumol. Oregon studies noted that xanthohumol reduced the levels of cholesterol in the body while also inhibiting the growth of cancers.
Get rid of boring brews with no flavors. The new generation of beer drinkers crave something new and fruity hops will open new doors of flavor and experience.