Kind of a thread resurrection, but I planted a bunch last year and this year. Their growth rates have varied widely, with virtually identical treatment of all of them. Some have had striking growth rates, while others are just puttering along. I think I've planted about 30 rhizomes from various orders, and have 24 live plants now. Some have grown only a couple of feet thus far this year. A few are at least 15 feet, and showing burrs. One Nugget, planted last year, was slow to start this year, but grew at least a measured 4 inches today! It grew 2 inches overnight, and 2 more from 7 this morning to 6 this evening. Impressive!. I planted them with a mix of compost and our native clay, haven't fertilized at all, and am way behind on weeding, and this thing is just shooting up!
I bought rhizomes this year and last from Freshops, Bader Brewing, Adventures in Homebrewing, Northwest Hops, and Northern Brewer. They all grew except the one from Northern Brewer, which was shipped with an order of a bunch of other stuff, and got beat up. It never sprouted. I think it was just treated too roughly in transit. I do think the Freshops rhizomes were the most substantial, and the best sprouters. I'll turn to them first if I need more rhizomes. However, it would take some serious bug damage or winter kill to have me shopping again. With 24 live plants, I think I'm set for a while.