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Not So Noble: Awesome New German Hops for Your Brews

German beer has been defined by the earthy and spicy flavors and aroma of noble hops, but newer hops are inching their way into the limelight. These new hops focus on taste, eschewing tradition to make some of the most exciting German brews.

Wine-like German Beer?

You’d expect wine-like flavors in New Zealand but not in Germany. Hallertau Blanc closely resembles the flavors of white wine, similar to New Zealand’s Nelson Sauvin. Its flavor profile isn’t as clean as the latter, with hints of pineapple, gooseberry, lemongrass, and passion fruit mixed in with the dominant white grape flavor and aroma. Its flavors make it less suitable for German lagers, but it is perfect for Belgian ales and IPAs.

Closest Hop to Citra

Germany’s answer to zesty Citra is Mandarina Bavaria. One of the newer hops (barely ten years old), Mandarina Bavaria has become one of the most famous German hops. Its flavor profile is dominated by fruity and citrusy flavors, particularly that of Mandarin oranges, from which it got its name. Softer notes of berries and black currant mix in with tangy flavors of lemon, lime, and pineapple to make your brews more interesting. The new German hop still has traces of its noble lineage, with hints of spicy and herbal notes detectable to discerning palates.

Strawberry and Melon

The description of Huell Melon’s flavors would have you thinking it was flavored milk instead of beer. However, flavors of strawberry and melon — along with distinct bitterness — have made Huell Melon stand out among Germany’s newer hops. Although it traces its ancestry to both the American Cascade and the noble Hallertauer, its flavor profile shows little hints of the two hops. Huell Melon has intense flavors of strawberry and honeydew, which is best utilized through dry hopping. You won’t find this beer in Oktoberfest lagers, but it is suited for milder brews like Belgian ales and wheat beer.

Minty Fresh Brews

Strong mint flavors might seem incompatible with beer, but it works with Polaris. Like Mandarina Bavaria, Hallertau Blanc, Huell Melon, and Taurus, Polaris is a hop variety developed by the Hopfenforschungszentrum Hüll, Germany’s foremost institute of hop research. Polaris produces strong mint flavors quite similar to Fox’s Glacier Mints that goes along well with hoppy brews.

Exotic Flavors — Healthy Beer

In any other country, Taurus might have just been written off, never to reach production. Thankfully, Germany continued its development of the quirky hop, creating one of the unique hops in the market. Its flavor profile has a distinct and strange combination of chocolate, banana, and curry. While its flavor may seem too quirky for most brews, its bittering qualities are what make it so accessible. It provides a crisp and clean bitterness that is perfect for German lagers and ales. Taurus also has the highest levels of antioxidants among every hop, making your brews both flavorful and healthy. Germany hop research is moving away from the traditional noble profile and exploring more flavorful and exciting varieties. Oktoberfest brews might not be your cup of tea, but Germany’s newer hops are definite eye-openers.
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