New Zealand hops are a growing trend in the craft brewing industry where breweries such as New Belgium, Anchor, Odell’s, and many more are using hop varieties from the pacific island to flavor some fantastic brews.
For over 150 years hops have been cultivated in the Nelson region of New Zealand and with good reason. There the weather is mild, around 50 degrees Fahrenheit, and is perfect for growing hops because the sun shines over 2,400 hours per year. Not only is the weather perfect but the whole harvesting process is environmentally friendly due to the fact that, in most crops, no chemicals or pesticides are needed.
Many of the diseases previously found in these hops have been breed out thanks to a world class hop breeding program that has been functioning for over 50 years. Internationally, brewers have long tapped the island for its seedless hop supply, a popular commodity among lager-style brewers.
You may start to notice some of these New Zealand hop varieties on ingredient lists:
On the local scene, Summit chose to use Rakau hops (a rare variety) in their new Saga IPA, which gives the beer a citrus punch and has left the local hop heads buzzing about this new refrigerator staple. Other local breweries, such as Town Hall Brewery and Barley John’s Brew Pub, have also been experimenting with New Zealand hops, often incorporating them into specialty beers.
Home brewers can also get their hands on many varieties of these hops at both Northern Brewer locations and at Midwest Supplies in St. Louis Park. One can’t help but think that these varieties would make a fine addition to your summer homebrew.
Ryan Tuenge is an avid home brewer and craft beer lover who
is not afraid to spend his last $5 on a pint of beer at the local pub.
As a member of the Minnesota Home Brewers Association, Ryan has tried a wide variety of beers and has toured many of the local breweries. He also has a blog about craft beer in Minnesota. He likes to read, write and travel with his wife. Follow him on Twitter @lodgefather.