Beer Maverick

Ten Hops to Watch Out for in 2021

Every craft brewery is looking for the next way to distinguish their beers from the masses. One of the easiest ways to do this would be to utilize new hops that are now just starting to hit the commercial market.

Assuming the world doesn’t end in 2020 – honestly, who knows anymore – we at least have 2021 to look forward to. Breweries will not only be looking to push the envelope with new flavors, but also look to cut costs whereever they can due to COVID’s crunches.

Here we look at ten hops that will become huge in 2021. The theme this year will be enormous flavors.

1. Nectaron

AA: 9.5-11.5%
Purpose: Aroma
Country: NZ
Flavors: Citrus, Pineapple, Peach, Passion Fruit, Grapefruit, Tropical Fruit

With Nelson Sauvin‘s 20-year plant variety rights (PVR) expiring later this year, New Zealand farmers needed a replacement home run.

Enter Nectaron. It is the New Zealand prince to King Nelson Sauvin.

Nectaron was just released publically in the middle of 2020, and displays high levels of tropical fruit, pineapple and passion fruit, peach and grapefruit aromas. The name plays up to “Nectar of the Gods”, which is what NZ hopes this hop accomplishes.

I’ve already come across a local beer using this hop and it was fantastic. If this beer was any indication, this hop is going to be everywhere soon.

Learn more about the Nectaron hop →

2. Talus

AA: 8.1-9.5%
Purpose: Aroma
Country: USA
Flavors: Citrus, Grapefruit, Tropical Fruit, Potpourri, Cream

Known previously as HBC 692, this aroma hop is to be used in whirlpool and dry hopping applications. High intensity citrus (grapefruit) and tropical fruit flavors are perfect for juicy IPAs.

With its brand-spanking-new name, HBC’s marketing department will be shifting into overdrive. Talus search volume has recently skyrocketed on our site. People have heard about this hop and are now trying to find out more information. Expect Talus themed IPAs at your favorite brewery in the very near future!

Learn more about the Talus hop →

3. Strata

AA: 11-12.5%
Purpose: Dual
Country: USA
Flavors: Cannabis, Grapefruit, Dank, Passion Fruit

With a flavor and aroma similar to Galaxy and Mosaic, Strata is going to take a huge leap forward in 2021. Galaxy hops are notoriously expensive, and every craft brewer wants them because of… well… Hazies. Regardless of what you think of the not-so-clear style of IPA, it isn’t going away, which means brewers will have to find a replacement to Galaxy pronto. Add to the fact that Strata also has some of the qualities that has made Mosaic hops a household name, you’ve got yourself a winner.

In my opinion, the only way this hop doesn’t have a breakout year is if supply doesn’t keep up. There is no reason a dual-purpose hop that has qualities similar to Galaxy and Mosaic can’t make it.

Learn more about the Strata hop →

4. BRU-1

AA: 13-15%
Purpose: Aroma
Country: USA
Flavors: Pineapple, Green Fruit, Fruity

I’m not sure who came up with the name “BRU-1”, but we kinda dig it. This unique hop came out of HBC’s breeding program in 2017. Production is ramping up, and with its explosion of pineapple flavors, this hop is about to get noticed big time.

Pineapple has always taken a backseat to grapefruit, orange and passion fruit hop aromas. BRU-1 is aiming to change that.

Learn more about the BRU-1 hop →

5. Loral

AA: 10-17%
Purpose: Aroma
Country: USA
Flavors: Floral, Citrus, Dark Fruit, Pepper

Loral, previously known as HBC 291, has been around since 2012. It was in brewing trials with Lagunitas, Stone, and Sierra Nevada. It didn’t get released to the public until 2016, and by 2019 only was the 33rd most produced hop in the United States.

Loral has a lot of ground to make up if it wants to become a household name, but it certainly has the flavor to do it. It’s high alpha acids make it perfect as a dry hop addition, and the “dark fruit” flavor is unique enough to sell it outright.

Learn more about the Loral hop →

6. HBC 472

AA: 7-11%
Purpose: Aroma
Country: USA
Flavors: Citrus, Grapefruit, Coconut, Whiskey, Earthy, Floral, Woody

Our first prediction is that HBC 472 will get a proper name. However, even with a boring ID number for a name, this hop is gaining some major traction. As with any Pacific Northwest hop, it delivers major grapefruit and citrus flavors. But it also has a twist. It has a fascinating whiskey and coconut character that breaks into the background when hopped aggressively.

We’ve seen this hop in commercial beers a few times already, and it will be everywhere by the end of 2021!

Learn more about the HBC 472 hop →

7. Lotus

AA: 13-17%
Purpose: Aroma
Country: USA
Flavors: Orange, Vanilla, Tropical, Cream, Berry

Hopsteiner’s Lotus hop is HUGE on fruit flavors including tropical & stone fruit and berries. Mix in a citrus twist, and this hop is going places. Adding to the fruitiness are hints of vanilla and cream, which will help round out the flavors. We have not yet been able to find a hop with similar characteristics, so expect to find this hop in a lot in Milkshake IPAs and hazies.

Learn more about the Lotus hop →

8. Pahto

AA: 17-20%
Purpose: Bittering
Country: USA
Flavors: Neutral, Clean, Smooth, Earthy

While not a name you’ll likely hear a lot, Pahto will soon reach the heights of other uber-popular bittering hops like Apollo, Summit and Bravo before it. Bittering hops simply don’t get the same amount of press (or love) as aroma hops… they do all their work in the background.

To be fair, Pahto is already widely produced, its just that no ones really heard about it yet. In the past, home brewers have all stuck with the standard bittering hops and passed over Pahto. That will change in 2021. I expect shelves will be overstocked with 2019-harvested Pahto hops that need to sell, igniting the use of it among home brewers.

Learn more about the Pahto hop →

9. Zappa

AA: 6-8%
Purpose: Aroma
Country: USA
Flavors: Citrus, Grapefruit, Orange, Tropical, Pine, Mango, Papaya, Passion Fruit

Zappa was not painstakingly created by growers like every other hop on this list. It was instead found as a wild hop in the mountains of New Mexico. Then, to add to the allure, it was named after legendary musician Frank Zappa.

Zappa’s intense flavors hit you hard too. Intense mango, papaya, pineapple, orange, grapefruit, melon, and guava flavors are balanced out with hints of white pepper and mint. This in-your-face hop is one of the most unique hops on the market today.

Learn more about the Zappa hop →

10. Zythos

AA: 10-12.5%
Purpose: Dual
Country: USA
Flavors: Tangerine, Tropical, Floral, Pine, Citrus, Grapefruit

As the only “blend” on our list, I see Zythos being mentioned more and more frequently by brewers. Up until now, Falconer’s Flight had been the only blend that became super popular. In my opinion, Zythos is about to follow in its footsteps big time.

With Zythos, Hopunion apparently tried to pack as much citrus and fruit aroma into one hop pellet as technically possible.

Learn more about the Zythos hop blend →

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