Hops are harvested cone shaped flowers of hop vines. These cones contain lupulin glands, which are responsible for bitterness and aroma qualities. Bittering hops usually have a high alpha acid. The bitterness qualities that hops add are from the alpha acids in the lupulins. When boiled, a reaction occurs that creates bitterness and adds a natural preservative to the beer. First noted when India Pale Ale was sent from England to their troupes in India. These ales were strongly bittered so it would remain fresh when it arrived by ship. Aroma hops are noted for their lower alpha acid contents and their fragrance. When added towards the end of the boiling process, these hops produce different levels of hoppy, piney, woody and fruity aromas. Midwest offers hops in Pellets, Plugs or Flowers.

Pellet Hops are whole hops that are shredded and compressed at harvest. This protects against aging and oxidation, but also breaks the lupulin glands for better hop utilization. Hop Plugs are whole flowers pressed into oz. plugs. Similar to pellets, these plugs are sealed up immediately, which seals the natural acids and oils. Plugs are generally used as aroma hops and for dry hopping. Dry hopping is adding 1-2 ounces of hops the secondary fermenter. (4-7 days) Whole Flower Hops are similar to plugs in their use. Hop Flowers are noted for their hop bouquet and are often used in special recipes. All hops should be kept refrigerated until the time they are used to guarantee maximum freshness.

Domestic Hops

Hop Type Alpha Acid Description Used In
Amarillo 8-11% Aroma-type cultivar of recent origin, discovered and introduced by Virgil Gamache Farms Inc. The Amarillo lends its unique flavor best to pale ales.
Bullion 8% Bittering hop with strong spicy flavors. Dark Ales and Stouts
Cascade 5.5% Aroma and bittering hop with pleasant citrus flavors. Used as a bittering hop in many recipes. Ales and Lagers
Centenial 10.5% Aroma hop which has described as a stronger version of Cascade. Medium to dark American ales
Chinook 12.0% Bittering hop with very intense aroma-more than Bullion. American ales and lagers
Clusters 6.5% Mild bittering hop. Popular with microbreweries. Light and dark American lagers
Columbus 12.5% Newer super high alpha. Finding favor with Microbreweries. Medium American Ales
Crystal 4.0% Newer variety with fine Hallertau character. Ultra Clean! Light Ales and Lagers!
Fuggles 5.0% Aroma hop. Very popular with homebrewers because of its versatility. Pale ales, Porters, and Stouts
Galena 11.5% Bittering hop. Becoming popular with lager U.S. breweries because its ability to blend well with finishing hops. American ales and lagers
Horizon 11.0% Has a bittering quality that is very smooth. Becoming increasingly popular. Ales, Bitters, Pale Ales, Porters and Stouts
Liberty 4.5% Finishing hop. A low alpha version of the MT. Hood hop. U.S. and German ale and lagers.
Mt. Hood 6.5% Aroma and bittering hop. A mixture of Hallertau and Liberty with light aroma qualities. American and German ales and lagers
Northern Brewer 9.0% Bittering hop. This American version has a rougher flavor and aroma than the imported varieties. California Common beers, Dark English ales, and German lagers
Nugget 13.0% Bittering hop. Popular amongst microbrewers. Medium to Dark American ales and lagers
Perle 8.0% Bittering hop. A close relative of Hallertau and Northern Brewer. Lagers, Wheats, and Pilsners
Tettnang 4.0% Aroma hop. A traditional German hop known for mild floral aroma. Wheats and German lagers
Williamette 5.0% Aroma hop. A popular American derivative of Fuggles. American and British ales
Yakima Magnum 12.0% A West Coast hop with high Alpha Acid. Excellent bittering hop. American Strong Ales.

Imported Hops

Type Alpha Acid Description Used In
Challenger (UK) 8.2% Bittering hop that has been a long time favorite of British housebreakers. British ales and lagers
Hallertau (German) 2.5% Bittering and aroma hop. Mildly aromatic with a spicy fragrance. Wheats, Altbiers, Pilsners, Belgian ales, American and German lagers
Kent Goldings (UK) 5.0% Aroma hop. A classic ale finishing hop. Ales, Bitters, Porters, and Stouts
Pride of Ringwood (Australia) 6.8% Bittering hop. An acclaimed bittering hop grown primarily in Tasmania. British ales, Australian-style ales and lagers
Saaz (Czech Republic) 3.0% Aroma and bittering hop. A fragrant and flavorful Czech hop. Lagers and Wheat
Styrian Goldings (Slovania) 5.0% Aroma and bittering hop. Traditional aroma hop noted for it's "rounded" bittering qualities. Vienna / Marzen lagers, Belgian ales and Pilsners
Target (UK) 9.0-13.0% Bittering hop. The U.K.'s most popular hop is now available on our side of the pond. British ales and lagers
Polnischer Lublin (Poland) 5.0% A newer hop variety. A great aroma hop. Ales and Lagers
Spalt (German) 4.8% Highly values traditional German Noble hop. Important in Alt beers. Amber Ales and Altbiers.