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Hallertau Hops

Hallertau Hops

written by Joseph Bair

A brief background on Hallertau hops.

Hop growing chronicles began in 736 AD in the Hallertau district of present day Bavaria. The dire effects of the 2008 worldwide hop crisis marked the first year the Hallertau region was second in production to the Yakima Valley in Washington.

All hops grown in the Hallertau district are considered Hallertau hops; it is a region instead of a specific hop variety; Just as Hersbrucker hops are harvested around Hersbruck, likewise Spalt hops are grown near the town of Spalt. The geographical appellation for hops is not as legally defined and as exact as French wines, so it can become capricious. However, it is packaged and sold as Hallertau anyhow. All the generic named Hallertau hops still have that distinctive spicy German taste.

The delicate aroma hop Hallertau Mittelfrüher, (translates to midwife: hops were once used as a calmative during child birth) is the variety associated with the famous noble hop of Hallertau district or “landrace cultivar.” Hallertau or Hallertauer, which were once synonymous with the Mittelfrüher variety, may not be that variety at all. Homebrew gardeners know that Hallertau Mittelfrüher has problems with Verticillium wilt, which wiped out many Bavarian harvests.

To add to the name dubiety there are Hallertau Hallertauer, Hallertau Hersbrucker and Hersbruck Hersbrucker. The names of the aroma varieties of Hallertau hops grown in that region are Hallertau Mittelfrüher, Hallertauer Brewers Gold, and Hallertauer Tradition. Since the Hallertau district is a major hop growing region it also grows Hersbrucker Spät, Spalter, Spalter Select, and Perle, among many, many more.

The prevailing United States beer that made Hallertau Mittelfrüher famous is Samuel Adams Boston Lager®, which rode that unique spicy taste on its flagship recipe to become the biggest American-owned beer company in the United States. If Sam Adams brings back the Hallertau Imperial Pilsner or homebrewers make clones, you can feel your tongue fizz with 12x the amount Hallertau Mittelfrüher put into Sam Adams Boston Lager®.

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