Cascade Reigns: Top Hops 2007 vs. 2015

Cascade Reigns: Top Hops 2007 vs. 2015

You’d be hard pressed to find strong evidence that any beer ingredient gets more love and attention in modern craft beer than hops. Specialty aroma and resinous, piney hops reign supreme in this era of celebrated bitterness. In 1996, the amount of land dedicated to growing hops in the U.S. peaked at just over 44,000 acres—at the time the most ever. But in 2015 there’s a new record for hop acreage at 45,239 acres.

It’s not just the increase in acreage that differentiates today from 1996; we also see an increase in acreage for aroma hops. In the early 90s, hops like Citra and Simcoe had yet to be developed, and the hops grown were largely geared toward bittering. With the rise in craft brewing, a new order emerged that has largely held to this day.

In 2007, the Brewers Association produced its first hop usage report; results of the survey of BA members. In that first report, Cascade, Centennial and Willamette took top honors. In just a few short years, we’ve seen that list change as new varietals have been introduced into the market. In 2015, Cascade and Centennial still top the list, but Willamette doesn’t even break the top ten. Instead, the third position has been replaced largely by Chinook. Looking closer, the top two spots have given up much ground to newcomers. In 2011, Cascade, Centennial and Chinook accounted for more than half of small brewers’ usage; today they have been cut back to below 40 percent.

What will the hop landscape look like in the next eight years? New varietals are constantly being developed and researched and there will certainly continue to be an increase in acreage to keep up with demand from the 4,000+ small and independent brewers in the U.S.

Top Hops | 2007

  1. Cascade (Aroma)
  2. Centennial (Dual)
  3. Willamette (Aroma)
  4. Chinook (Dual)
  5. Amarillo (Aroma)
  6. EKG (East Kent Golding) (Dual)
  7. Saaz (Aroma)
  8. CTZ | Columbus, Tomahawk, and Zeus (Bittering)
  9. U.S. Golding (Aroma)
  10. Styrian Golding (Aroma)

Top Hops | 2015

  1. Cascade (Aroma)
  2. Centennial (Dual)
  3. Chinook (Dual)
  4. Simcoe® (Dual)
  5. Citra® (Aroma)
  6. Hallertau Mittelfruh (Aroma)
  7. Amarillo (Aroma)
  8. Crystal (Aroma)
  9. Magnum (Bittering)
  10. CTZ | Columbus, Tomahawk, and Zeus (Bittering)

Source: Brewers Association 2015 Hop Usage Survey/ The New Brewer Magazine is fully dedicated to small and independent U.S. breweries. We are published by the Brewers Association, the not-for-profit trade group dedicated to promoting and protecting America’s small and independent craft brewers. Stories and opinions shared on do not imply endorsement by or positions taken by the Brewers Association or its members.