Belgium's mild maritime climate and the fertile sandy loam are ideal to let numerous hop varieties grow vigorously and crop abundantly. Belgian hop growers therefore offer a wide range of hop varieties, each with their specific bitterness and/or pleasant aroma.
In Flanders, the region of Poperinge, 18 active hop growers cultivate ca. 155 ha of hops.
In Wallonia, the 3 main active hop growers cultivate ca. 21 ha hops.
Area under cultivation (data from 2018):
Aromatic hops: 85,5 ha
Bitterhops: 57,5 ha
Dual purpose hops: 30 ha
Others (discontinuation of certain hop fields and experimental strains): 8,1 ha
Total: 181,1 ha.
Aromatic hops is a type of hops that gives the beer its distinctive aroma. Aroma hops can give beer a herb-, flower- or even citrus-like flavour and taste – all often very delicate flavours. The hops are only added at the end of the boiling, to prevent the aromatic oils from evaporating during the boiling process. Aromatic hops are are usually not bitter.
The aromatic hops grown in Belgium are: Cascade, Fuggle, Golding, Groene Bel, Hallertau Mittelfrühe, Opal, Perle, Saaz, Smaragd, Saphir, Spalter Select, Tettnanger, Hallertauer Tradition, Styrian Golding and WGV.
Check out the technical specifications of the aromatic hops below.
Dual purpose hops
'Dual purpose hops' are very bitter hops, with a pleasant flavour. They can be used either as bitter hops or as aromatic hops. This variety of hops is added at the beginning of the boiling process, like for bitter hops, or at the end of the process, as for aromatic hops.
The dual-purpose hops grown in Belgium are: Brewers Gold, Centennial, Challenger, First Gold, Marynka, Northen Brewer, Pioneer, Chinook and Sorachi Ace.
Check out the technical specifications of the dual-purpose hops below.
‘Bitterhops’ is a type of hops mainly used to make the beer bitter and foster its conservation. Its bitterness is attributable to a high degree of alpha acids. Bitter hops are mostly added at the start of the brewing process, so that the bitterness is used to the max.
The bitter hops grown in Belgium are: Admiral, Magnum, Merkur, Nugget, Pilgrim, Phoenix, Record and Target.
Check out the technical specifications of the bitter hops below.