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Hop Varieties in British Bottled Beer

Which hop varieties were British brewers using in 2001? And how had that changed by 2009?

When we picked up the 2001 edition of Jeff Evans’s Good Bottled Beer Guide the other week we were surprised to note that information is provided on the hops used in almost every beer listed (home brewers take note) — that is, every bottle-conditioned, CAMRA-friendly British beer then on the market.

We decided that it might be worthwhile crunching the numbers on this nice little data set and so, first, here’s the breakdown of hop usage (UPDATE: that is, hops named as an ingredient) in 2001 by percentage of mentions:

Hop varieties in British beer, 2001. SOURCE: Good Bottled Beer Guide.

We hadn’t realised just how popular Challenger was.

Here’s the breakdown of the 25 ‘other’ varieties, with apologies for very small type:

Other hop varieties, 2001.

Mr Evans has published an edition of this guide every few years since the late 90s and we had a 2009 edition at hand, so here’s how things changed in a decade, again with percentages:

2009 hop varieties. (SOURCE: Good Bottled Beer Guide.)

The ‘other’ category now contains 46 different varieties, many of them such as Sorachi Ace used only in one beer, with Styrian Goldings (4.3%), Target (4%), First Gold (3.8%) and Bramling Cross (3.5%) leading the stragglers. Between them, Simcoe, Centennial, Chinook, Columbus and Amarillo make up 2.7% of the total.

We’ve never spent so much time and effort finding out something that we already knew: Cascade grew in popularity in Britain during the noughties; brewers played with an ever wider range of hops; and Goldings and Fuggles lost market share, while still remaining hugely dominant.

7 replies on “Hop Varieties in British Bottled Beer”

Extremely interesting and thank you for spending that time crunching. Often it is found that what we “know” is not quite the whole truth. In this case, it seems close to the mark. If only these data sets also had usuage type or quantity. That would be very fascinating. Have aroma editions remained mostly low alpha varieties, etc?

Only launched on to the market in 2007; Oakham Citra not a permanent beer until 2011. Suspect that, if we can be arsed to crunch the numbers from the 2013 edition, will find it makes a showing.

EDIT: And, in fact, no Oakham beers are listed at all — guess they weren’t bottle-conditioning anything in 2008-09?

Oh I didn’t notice it was only hipster bottle conditioned nonsense and not proper beer like you get in the supermarket.

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