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Noble Hops Cheat Sheet

Noble hops may share names but each one is from a different region.

Dave Carpenter Nov 8, 2016 - 3 min read

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Wine enthusiasts understand the concept of terroir, the idea that the area in which a grape is grown is as important as the grape variety itself. It’s why Malbec does so well in Argentina and Sauvignon Blanc thrives in New Zealand. A New Zealand-grown Malbec may still taste great, but it won’t be the same as South American examples. Perhaps not surprisingly, the same principles apply to hops.

Noble hops are classic European varieties that are responsible for the signature flavors of pilsner and other Continental lagers. The four noble varieties are:

  • Hallertauer Mittelfrüh
  • Tettnang
  • Spalt
  • Saaz

Having been cultivated in specific regions for hundreds of years, noble varieties express terroir much more apparently than cultivars with shorter histories. In fact, the names of the noble hops themselves are identical to the regions in which they were developed.

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