Although the name looks like a typo in our language, Smaragd hops are named after the German word for emerald. It makes sense since they are green like the jewel. Not that other hops are not, I am just saying that the color green may have been on their minds when they decided to name it.
The variety comes from the Hull Research Institute and is grown primarily in Germany. It’s another variety that was bred to have the same aroma and flavor profile as Hallertauer Mittelfrueh but with better resistance to wilt and other diseases that can ruin hops crops.
Another variety that was developed and released around that same time (c. 2002) is Saphir hops, which is now being used as a showcase hop in a number of different beers. With Saphir as their companion variety, maybe jewels were the naming theme that week (See note about emerald above to make the connection).
There are a number of US hops that are bred from Hallertau and are available as substitutes for that noble variety. Mt. Hood, Liberty, and Vanguard are a few of these hops and you should pick them up if the German versions are not available for your homebrewing needs.
Before you go out and buy a few ounces, read these details about Smaragd hops:
Aroma: Floral, fruity nose, maybe spicy, woody, and herbal. These are “noble” hop descriptors. The one that stands out to me is the fruity nose one, which could be the key differentiator.
Alpha Acid: 4 – 6%
Typical Usage: Aroma
Beer Styles: Pilsners, other German ales and lagers, some Belgian styles
If you are looking for a little different hop profile for your next pilsner, pick up a few packets of this hop if you can find them. Try brewing up a SMaSH beer to really get a sense of what these hops could bring.