Al Haunold Responds to Criticism Re: CTZ History Lesson - Wednesday, September 1, 2010
  Exclusive! The History Of CTZ:  The Pursuit of Hop Patent Profit - Thursday, August 26, 2010
  Part XI: Freedom Hops:  The Case for Public-Private Breeding Partnerships - Thursday, August 26, 2010
  Part X: US Public Aroma Cultivars: Use ‘em or Lose ‘em? - Thursday, May 6, 2010
  Part IX: Aromas? Yes. But Can the Willamette Valley Handle Dual Purpose Heavies Like Centennial, Horizon and Chinook? - Friday, April 2, 2010
  Interview with Dr. Shaun Townsend: Breeding a Bold New World of Aroma Hops - Monday, March 15, 2010
  Part VIII: If You Like Willamette, You’re Going to Love its Forgotten Sister, Columbia. - Friday, March 12, 2010
  Part VII: Buy Local, Go Green and Save Green: The Case for Mt. Hood, Liberty, Ultra and Crystal - Friday, February 26, 2010
  Part VI: Saazer vs Sterling: Do You Want Sizzle or Steak? - Sunday, February 21, 2010
  Part V: Perle: Is it an Alpha Hop? An Aroma hop? Or Something In Between? - Thursday, February 11, 2010
  Part IV: Santiam, US Tettnanger, Fuggles: Will the Real Tettnanger Please Stand Up? - Tuesday, February 9, 2010
  Part III: Alpha Obsession: Origins of the Race for More Bittering “Juice” - Wednesday, January 27, 2010
  Part II: Cascade: How Adolph Coors helped launch the most popular US Aroma Hop and the craft beer revolution - Monday, January 25, 2010
  Part I: US Hopmeister in Chief, Dr. Al Haunold, On the Origins of Willamette. - Friday January 22, 2010 

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

HopTalk with The People's Hopmeister

Al Haunold Responds to Criticism Re: CTZ History Lesson

[Note: Dr. Al Haunold wrote an article on our blog recently (click here) in which he set forth the history of Columbus, Tomahawk and Zeus. He gave the factual background for the conclusion most of us know, and that is, although the names are different, genetically, they are most likely identical. Most of the feedback was overwhelming positive, but a few detractors were upset, accusing Al of maligning his old friend and colleauge, Chuck Zimmermann. Al, a stickler for the truth, which we appreciate, wanted to clarify the intent of his history lesson.]

When I provided the background information regarding the hop composite CTZ I did not have any intention to malign the lasting memory of my friend Chuck Zimmermann. > More



Thursday, August 26, 2010

An Indie Hops Exclusive

The History Of CTZ:  The Pursuit of Hop Patent Profit

By Al Haunold, Ph.D

The most widely grown private hop variety, or shall I say varieties -- "CTZ" (Columbia, Tomahawk and Zeus), which industry insiders believe are actually one and the same, and the trade often designates as CTZ, were developed by Charles E. (Chuck)  Zimmermann, formerly a USDA hop research scientist stationed in Prosser, Washington.

When Zimmermann resigned his position in about 1979, there was nobody to run the USDA/Prosser hop program.  The primary repository for hop germplasm is located at the USDA Hop Program in Corvallis, Oregon, but the USDA kept a back-up collection in Prosser. > More


Thursday, August 26, 2010

Hoptalk with Hopmeister Al, Part XI

Freedom Hops:  The Case for Public-Private Breeding Partnerships

Those who know me understand that I tend to fixate. I get the sandy grain of an idea, apply loads of constant pressure (with maximum compression around 3 in the morning.) and either a blood vessel bursts or out pops a pearl.

Here’s my latest pearl in process: the need for public-private hop breeding partnerships.

Here’s what started the itch. I was perusing the Strategic Plan of the Hop Research Council (1998, updated in 2007). By way of background, the HRC consists of a few larger brewers and all the usual merchants in Yakima.  These are the insiders who have a tremendous influence on the direction of how public research dollars are spent.  They also assess themselves certain fees and make additional money from HRC available through research grants. > More



Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Optimal Oil Extraction 101.

Whole Cones vs Turkish Espresso Pellets: Where’s That Sweet Spot?

How does a brewer get the most hop oil for the buck? Does he dry hop with whole cones? Or with pellets? The research shows that a brewer using pellets can extract about 30-35% more alpha acid in solution than he can from whole cones, but I’m not aware of any oil extraction studies pitting cones vs pellets.

It’s not a perfect analogy, but assuming the same holds true with respect to oil extraction – that a pellet offers up more oil for extraction than a cone, what is the optimal design of the pellet?
> More


Thursday, May 6, 2010

Hoptalk with Al Haunold, Part X

US Public Aroma Cultivars: Use ‘em or Lose ‘em?

Who's gonna fill their shoes
Who's gonna stand up tall
Who's gonna play the Opry
And the Wabash Cannonball
Who's gonna give their heart and soul
To get to me and you
Lord I wonder, who's gonna fill their shoes?
-- George Jones, ‘Ol No-Show

Why do certain crafties continue to prefer European aroma hops over the US grown surrogates? Do the land race varieties offer superior flavor and aroma? Is it true that the US grown aroma varieties were never intended to replace the nobles?

Did the industrials back in the day task out the USDA to cook up substitutes just in case of a catastrophic European crop failure, or to leverage against price or supply manipulations? Did the industrials simply want substitutes for Hallertauer mf, Saazer and Tettnanger as an insurance policy in case the real McCoy weren’t available? > More


Friday, April 2, 2010

Hoptalk with Al Haunold, Part IX

Aromas? Yes. But Can the Willamette Valley Handle Dual Purpose Heavies Like Centennial, Horizon and Chinook?

If the Willamette Valley is renown for its aroma hops and Yakima Valley for it’s high alpha, where do “dual purpose” hops fit in? Since most mid to high alpha hops hail from Yakima, does that mean they don’t or wouldn’t thrive in Oregon?

First, a bit of background.

“Dual purpose” is a term of art that first emerged in the mid 1990s, about the time that our hopmeister Dr. Al was hanging up his cover-alls and putting away his clipboard. “We never used that term,” recalled Al.
> More


Best of Both Worlds.
Oregon Grown (Top L-R)
Chinook, Horizon and Newport

Monday, March 15, 2010

Interview with Dr. Shaun Townsend

Breeding a Bold New World of Aroma Hops

The quest to breed more desirable aroma hops, aromas and flavor, oddly enough, has never really begun. While breeders like Dr. Al have hit home runs on crafting hop cultivars with more alpha, or higher yields, or disease resistance, few if any public breeding programs have made new and better aroma oils their holy grail.

Until now. As we’ve reported, Indie Hops has sponsored a breeding and research program at Oregon State University which, for the first time, targets aroma hops. I spoke with Dr. Shaun Townsend, hops geneticist, about the new program that he’s pioneering along, along with his colleague Dr. Tom Shellhammer, a hop chemist. > More


From So Simple A Beginning...
endless hops most beautiful, aromatic and flavorful have been and are being selected by the genetic clockmakers at OSU.

Friday, March 12, 2010

HopTalk with Hopmeister Al Haunold, Part VIII

If You Like Willamette, You’re Going to Love its Forgotten Sister, Columbia.

Columbia, not to be confused with the super alpha Columbus, is your proverbial hop diamond in the rough. Released to the public in 1977, this aroma cultivar has never found it’s niche in the marketplace. Like it’s namesake, the mighty Columbia river, we think Columbia is indeed a mighty hop, but it’s potential has historically been dammed up or drowned out, ironically, by the super star status of her big sister: Willamette.

An Internet search yields little reliable information on Columbia, for good reason. The BA hop usage data shows that zero pounds of Columbia were used by crafties in 2009. The reason for that is simple: crafties don’t know much about it, merchants aren’t endorsing it, and farmers without forward contracts simply aren’t growing it. > More


Columbia: A mighty river, but a bottled up hop which Indie Hops intends uncork and let loose.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Hop Talk with Hopmeister Al Haunold, Part VII

Buy Local, Go Green and Save Green: The Case for Mt. Hood, Liberty, Ultra and Crystal

By now you’ve noticed a theme that goes something like this.

  • Industrial brewers back in The Day (pre-1980) grew tired of paying higher prices for unreliable supplies of European noble aroma hop imports.
  • The Industrials tasked Dr. Haunold, the People’s Hopmeister, to breed noble hop surrogates with a similar oil profile but with higher alpha acid, higher yields, and superior disease resistance.
  • Dr. Haunold delivered, and then some. He delivered, but it turned out the Industrials, after driving the research and breeding, wound up seldom utilizing the new and improved noble “mimics,” as in the late 1970s they began trending away from aromatic lagers and pilseners and towards super alpha varieties for bittering only.
  • The craft breweries came along in the mid 1980s and began taking a greater interest in the noble aroma mimic “cast offs’ for uniquely American style pale ales.
  • Many crafties, however, continued to be seduced by the mystique and aura of European, Old World hops (Saazer, Tettnanger, Hallertau Mittelfrueh). They were willing to pay more, as securing ginormous supplies from afar was not a major concern for smaller, start-up brewers.
  • In recent years, the dollar has weakened against the Euro, which has resulted in higher prices for European hop imports. Meanwhile, overall annual hop acreage in Oregon has dropped significantly in the past decade.
  • Yours Truly then ends up ranting that it doesn’t make sense to pay more for low yielding and arguably inferior (well, different) hops just because of a perceived marketing boost. Form over substance! Status. Hype. Yours Truly’s head then threatens to explode when you fold in the fact that buying Euro puts Oregon farmers out of work and puts more greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere. (Quick, you’re a brewer in San Diego. What’s greener: buying hops from Hubbard, Oregon or Mainburg, Germany?)

Here we go again.> More


The Big Four:  Move over Old World Hallertauer Mittelfrueh, New World Oregon-grown Mt. Hood, Liberty, Ultra and Crystal are coming in hot!  Hop On!
Majestic Mt. Hood. Highest Peak in Oregon, top Oregon-grown Hallertauer Mittelfrueh cultivar.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Hop History with Dr. Al Haunold, Part VI

Saazer vs Sterling: Do You Want Sizzle or Steak?

Saazer is a land race, noble aroma hop whose “Old Europe” mystique may overshadow a few telling flaws. It’s a low total oil, low alpha acid, low co-humulone classic hop renowned for its spicy and herbal flavors. Over the last 700 years, Saazer hops have survived wars, famine, invasions, Nazis and Communist collective farming in the tiny town of Zatec (formerly Saaz), in what’s today the Czech Republic, about 50 miles south of Dresden, Germany.

In 2009, Saazer (Cz) ranked as the 7th most used hop in the Brewers Association 2009 hop usage poll, just behind it’s more robust US offshoot, Sterling. Sterling, as we’ll see, may not carry the mystique of a land race Euro hop (think castles, coats-of-arms, Oompah bands), but Oregon farmers and craft brewers love it.

Saazer hops traditionally have been beset by unsteady availability and small yields. The acreage has not expanded in decades (centuries?) and the yields by US standards have been dramatically low, which of course has helped push up its price. It was the uncertain supply and wild price fluctuations that prompted US brewers back in the early 1980s to grow Czech Saaz in the U.S. At the time, the walls of Communism were beginning to crack and the Czech people were poised to embrace the promise of capitalism.
> More


Perfect Hop, Ideal Terroir, Outstanding Ale!
Need proof that Oregon-grown Sterling Hops leave Czech-grown Saazer in the weeds? Try my favorite beer, Deschutes Green Lakes Organic Ale. With thanks to Hopmeister Al Haunold and Master Brewer Larry Sidor.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Hop History with Dr. Haunold, Part V

Perle: Is it an Alpha Hop? An Aroma hop? Or Something In Between?

The Germans, to this day, insist Perle (pronounced Purr-lay) is an aroma hop. When grown in Germany, the alpha acid content is a reliable 7 - 8% -- not exactly the subtle levels of an esteemed Hallertauer mf, which hover below 5%. That disparity, however, as a matter of historical record never stopped German hop merchants on the hunt for premium prices from suggesting a mild Hallertau “infusion.”

Not until, that is, they were busted in the late 1970s by a scientist who, at an international meeting, stood up and said, “Wait a minute you bearded Bavarian boys in lederhosen, this hop you call Perle quacks, waddles and paddles like a Northern Brewer. Pray tell, what’s in it?” For years the Germans resisted disclosing the pedigree, vainly trying to keep the lid on the truth as long as possible, during which time they could happily exploit the alleged Hallertau lineage. > More

"Get me a tankard with Oregon grown Perle, now!"

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Hop History with Dr. Haunold, Part IV

Santiam, US Tettnanger, Fuggles: Will the Real Tettnanger Please Stand Up?

Many of you may be buying “US Tettnanger” with the belief that you’re getting a hop that carries the same oil, aroma and flavor profile as its noble namesake from Germany.

But you’d be wrong. The so-called “US Tettnanger,” according to Dr. Al Haunold, is actually Britain-born Fuggles. Al tried to correct the misnomer back in the late 1980s, but his call for truth in advertising and science fell on deaf and dumb ears, and the myth persists today.

Lets go back to the 1980s. Anheuser-Busch (AB) was importing German-grown Tettnanger hops, a landrace noble aroma hop which thrived in a small terroir in the Southwest region of Germany near the Lake Konstanz on the Switzerland and Austrian borders. AB wanted to free itself of dependence on Germany for Tettnanger, whose oil and alpha acids profile was similar to Saazer hops from the Czech Republic. > More

Santiam: like it's namesake, there is nothing subtle about the hop, a classic noble aroma that blends the best of Czech Saazer, German Tettnanger and Hallertauer mf. Spicy, pure and clean!  

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Part III: Dr. Al Haunold Hop History

Alpha Obsession: Origins of the Race for More Bittering “Juice”

Today it’s well known that alpha, or “juice,” is a form of hop currency. In an industry run more and more by bean counters who are eager to sacrifice a bit of quality to make a few more pennies, when it comes to choosing hops, the juice content of a hop is more often than not the deciding factor. Put simply, the more a processor can extract from a single cone , the fewer cones he has to buy.

Where did this obsession with alpha acids begin? To answer that, I spoke to Dr. Haunold, who it turns out was on the front lines in the race for more alpha. The race began in the early 1960s with a challenge that resulted in a hunch that yielded a breakthrough that the growers hated so much they threatened to suppress it with legal action. Oh my! Read on. > More

Big plump cones of Nugget hops bursting with Green Gold! 

Monday, January 25, 2010

Hop History with Hopmeister Dr. Al Haunold, Part II

Cascade: How Adolph Coors helped launch the most popular US Aroma Hop and the craft beer revolution

Let’s go way back to the end of Prohibition in 1933. At that time, the US government saw fit to re-energize the beer industry by re-establishing the hop research facility at Oregon State University (then Oregon State College) in Corvallis, Oregon. More beer, more jobs, less crabbiness, and more tax revenue. In 1935, Oregon ranked as the top hops producer, cultivating 26 million pounds from 30,000 acres, about 90% of which was the Cluster variety.

The USDA facility’s main objective was to save cluster hops by controlling Downy Mildew (DM), which had attacked hop-yards in the Willamette Valley with deadly force. Dr. Stan Brooks, the USDA/OSU hop breeder, had grown an open-pollinated (wind pollinated – we’ll never know the parentage) female hop having a strong Fuggle pedigree. Dr. Brooks collected and studied open-pollinated seeds from the latter hop flower, which demonstrated good resistance to DM, among other attractive qualities. > More

The snow capped Cascade range watches over the fertile Willamette Valley, birthplace of Cascade hops


Friday January 22, 2010 

First of a series:
US Hopmeister in Chief, Dr. Al Haunold, On the Origins of Willamette.

Dr. Al Haunold served as our country’s unofficial hopmeister from 1965 to 1995 as the leading hop scientist for the USDA’s hop breeding program. During his tenure, Dr. Haunold released 15 U.S. hop varieties to the public and collaborated on at least another 8 varieties. Chances are, every time you drink a craft beer today, you’re tasting a piece of his handiwork.

Although he “retired” in 1995, Dr. Haunold has continued to advise the USDA on hop breeding and production in an unpaid capacity. His days in Corvallis, Oregon are busier than ever, shuttling between the tennis courts, the swimming pool, his office at Oregon State University, and his volunteer work for the AARP helping low income earners fill out their taxes. Time has not taken the edge off – if anything, he’s sharper than ever. > More


The People's HopMeister: Dr. Al Haunold, Breeder of 23 publicly owned Hop Varieties


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