Beer Fact Friday: Amarillo Hops

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Wet Amarillo hops

Hops, like wine grapes, come in many different varieties, each with unique flavors and aromas and differing ability to deliver bitterness to beer. You probably recognize a few of the more famous names—Saaz, Hallertau, Golding, Mosaic, Cascade. The hop called Amarillo is a little lesser-known than these legends, but is no less beloved.

The story of Amarillo begins by chance. Unlike many modern hop varieties, which are created through purposeful cross-breeding of different hop plants to produce new and interesting aromas, Amarillo was *discovered.* In 1990, the growers at Virgil Gamach Farms in Washington happened across a small hop bine growing near a plot of Liberty hops. It looked different from the other hops on the field, with small cones that shined bright yellow when pulled apart. It also *smelled* different—as if the tiny cones were sprinkled with fresh orange zest. The farmers were intrigued, so they took cuttings from the plant and grew more.

Today, Amarillo (named for its color—”amarillo” means “yellow” in Spanish) is one of the most popular varieties in use by American craft brewers. Its levels of an oil known as Myrcene are among the highest of any hop variety, as are its supercharged citrus aromas—bold lemon, orange, grapefruit, and tangerine notes abound in every whiff.

Want to experience Amarillo? You’re in luck. On Wednesday, Oct. 7, we’re releasing Wet & Hazy, a wet-hopped version of our hAZy IPA brewed with the very same fresh Amarillo cones you see here.

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