The term “noble hops” is thrown around in beer marketing messaging a lot. It took me a while to look it up to learn what that actually meant. Every time I would see the phrase, I put it on my mental to do list to gather information about it. Even though I did this research a couple of years ago, I thought I would present it in a post:
The term noble hops refers to four varieties that are grown in Central Europe. I think these varieties were the first hops cultivated for brewing. I am guessing their long history has made them noble.
From what I have read, the variety has to be grown in the traditional region to be noble, so I have listed the variety name with some information about the region:
- Hallertauer Mittelfrüh (from the Hallertau region of Bavaria)
- Tettnanger Tettnang (Tettnang is a small town in southern Germany)
- Spalter Spalt (Spalt is a town in Bavaria)
- Saaz (which is the German name of the city of Žatec in the Czech Republic where this hop originates from)
All of these hops are characterized by lower bitterness yet bold aroma. It’s interesting to me that this region’s environment creates hops with these characteristics which play such a big part in the flavor and character of the region’s beer.
I love the fact that our surroundings shape us as much as we shape our surroundings.
Now the next time you see the phrase “noble hops”, you’ll know what it means.