Best Foreign Hops for American Brews

American beer hops are some of the best in the world, but your brews can use a bit of diversity. Specific hops from around the world blend particularly well with American hops, producing beers with more sophistication, depth, and mystery.

1. Galaxy

Galaxy is probably the most popular foreign hop in America. You can easily find Galaxy hops for sale in specialty stores or online. If you love modern American hop brews, you’ll love Galaxy. Galaxy has strong fruit flavors of passionfruit and peach. If you delve deeper, you might taste a bit of pineapple and other tropical fruits. It has a citrusy tang, but nowhere near the levels of Citra. If you want that citrusy taste in your brews without going full Citra, you can pair Galaxy with Centennial or use Centennial for bittering. Galaxy and Simcoe work particularly well to make more mature brews.

2. Kent Golding

If you want to recreate the flavors of an English pub, then you’ll want to use Kent Golding. You can get these hops shipped from the UK, but local varieties are growing in Oregon. Kent Golding has strong notes of lavender, spices, and thyme — with a splattering of honey mixed in with more earthy tones. You’ll have your bar cheering for Manchester United, so you better mix in some American hops if you want to cheer for the local team. Kent Golding goes well with almost any citrusy American hop. You can pair it with Citra or even add Ekuanot to the mix and cover nearly every tone.

3. Spalt

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Oktoberfest in the States needs a touch of Spalt. Spalt is perfect for brewing German lagers with its strong earth and spice tones. Spalt is ideal for adding a little more hoppiness to any brew. Just use it for bittering and add more flavorful hops like Citra and Mosaic.

4. Southern Passion

Africa’s Southern Passion has a unique flavor profile combining spice and fruit tones. The closest hop would be Australia’s Topaz — but the flavors don’t come close to Southern Passion. You may find it a bit difficult to find this particular hop due to low yields and the changing political climate in Africa. It blends well with the more flavorful American hops like Citra, Centennial, and Idaho — but it also mixes well with more subdued hops like Simcoe, Horizon, and Columbus.

5. Nelson Sauvin

Any hop list will not be complete without Nelson Sauvin. This New Zealand hop has a very distinct white wine flavor. Its flavors and aromas are sometimes a bit too strong for the likings of American beer drinkers, but you can quickly solve this by pairing it with a local hop. Nelson Sauvin pairs well with citrusy American hops like Citra, Cascade, and Amarillo. However, you should tone down the citrus levels if you want to preserve the wine-like flavor.

Mixing and matching hop varieties will increase your brewing expertise and give your patrons a little something to look forward to. Shake things up by introducing a foreign brew or a hybrid brew of local and foreign hops.

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