Triumph - A New Public Variety
In the hop industry, we tend to focus on the processes from “field to pint,” but there’s a lot of work that takes place before a hop variety ever reaches the field. Behind the scenes, breeders and growers spend time, energy and resources on choosing hops that benefit both growers and brewers. The entire hop commercialization process can take anywhere from 10 to 20 years. When a hop variety reaches the market, it means it’s checked off the important boxes, including disease resistance, good yield, notable brewing qualities, etc.
Now with a competitive hop market, and an even more competitive brewing industry, the commercialization process is more important than ever. Growers need to feel good about a variety before they dedicate more acreage to its growth. Enter Triumph – a new public hop variety developed by John Henning, a research geneticist at the USDA. With high yields and excellent brewing qualities, this aroma hop was named for its ‘triumph’ over other experimental hop varieties both in the field and in the glass – as well as Henning’s love of Triumph brand motorcycles.
Doug Weathers, hop grower at Sodbuster Farms in Salem, Oregon and a YCH grower owner, was heavily involved in the commercialization of Triumph. He was one of the first growers to grow it commercially and worked to get it into the hands of brewers.
“The Oregon Hop Commission and Oregon State were seeking cooperative growers for the trial process of this experimental hop variety,” said Weathers. “John Henning had come up with this variety that had economic viability and really new and unique aromatic qualities. I really wanted to get brewers excited about this variety. We set aside four rows for Triumph, starting with 1.8 acres. We built new trellis on new ground. We received them in these massive 3-gallon pots, and hand potted each one of them. They did quite well, very well in fact, so we took brewers out to the hop yard that year for a visit.”
Weathers recalls, “We took Tom Nielsen from Sierra Nevada out there to show him this new hop variety. After smelling it, he said, ‘we’ll take 2000lbs for our fresh hop ale.’ Half the crop was gone right there. The rest of it was pelletized for more brewers who were requesting it.”
“It’s a great hop for Oregon growers,” says Weathers. “It has an ideal picking window for the Oregon harvest season, it grows hearty in the Oregon area, does well in this climate. And it’s got this super unique aroma with tropical fruits and bubblegum. And I’m not just talking about any bubblegum. I’m talking about that in-your-face Bazooka bubblegum. Then it’s got the white peach and stone fruits that come out more heavily as it ages. We’ll be planting additional acres for 2020.”
In the brewhouse, Triumph is comparable to noble style hops, exhibiting lighter characteristics in beer. Even with a milder presence, it contributes juicy and distinct flavors and aroma. It has excellent brewing qualities with slightly higher bittering capabilities for an aroma hop. As volume grows, brewers can expect Triumph to be an inventory staple as a suitable noble hop addition and ideal ingredient for creating beers with a unique bubblegum flavor.
We are excited to see where you, our brewers, take this new hop variety!
*Being in its first year, please note there is limited availability for this variety. Available only for commercial brewers at this time.