The Hallertau, located in Bavaria, is Germany's most famous hop growing region. For this reason, its name appears on many hop varieties, either because the hops were grown there or the cultivar was developed there, as well as for marketing regions. This article describes some of the reasons the Hallertau name appears on hop packages and lists hop varieties legitimately associated with the Hallertau.
The Hallertauer Mittelfrüher Landrace
The original landrace hop of the Hallertau is the hop known as Hallertauer Mittelfrüher or Hallertauer Mittelfrüh. This is usually considered one of the classic noble hops, and is considered one of the few hops, along with possibly Tettnang Tettnanger and Spalt Spalter, that are suitable for making a true traditional German lager.
In the case of Hallertauer Mittelfrüher, the "Hallertauer" on a package of commercial hops does not always indicate that the hops were grown in the Hallertau; in this case, "Hallertauer" is part of the name of the hop cultivar, like the "Northern" in "Northern Brewer". Hops of this cultivar grown in other places can be, and are, sold as "Hallertauer", "Hallertauer Mittelfrüher", or "Hallertauer Mittelfrüh" hops. Honest vendors will label these with their specific country of origin, such as Hallertauer (American), but you should never assume that a hop labeled simply "Hallertauer" was grown in the Hallertau.
This true landrace cultivar is unfortunately extremely susceptible to verticillium wilt, a fungal disease affecting hops and other cultivated plants. As a result, this hop is being planted in smaller numbers even in the Hallertau, and many hop breeding programs are involved in trying to find replacements for this critical lager hop, to be grown in the Hallertau and around the world.
Previously, you could identify a true Hallertau Hallertauer Mittelfrüher hop by the designation Hallertau hallertauer or Hallertauer hallertauer. As with Tettnang Tettnanger, this designation showed that this was not simply a Hallertauer-variety hop, but was actually grown in the Hallertau.
Unfortunately, this is no longer the case. Many of the new cultivars that have been developed by German hop breeding programs for growing in the Hallertau have also been given names containing "Hallertauer," following the example of Hallertauer Mittelfrüher. One of these in particular, a wilt-resistant cultivar called Hallertauer Gold, was considered by many brewers to be an acceptable substitute for the true Hallertauer Mittelfrüher, and because its name also contains "Hallertauer" is is also marketed around the world as "Hallertau Hallertauer", as are several other Hallertau-grown cultivars. Unless your hop producer specifies "Hallertau Hallertauer Mittelfrüher", and sometimes not even then, you should assume that any hop marketed simply as "Hallertau Hallertauer" or "Hallertauer Hallertauer" is actually Hallertauer Gold or, less frequently, some other Hallertauer cultivar.
Other Hallertauer-Named Cultivars
Several other hops developed in the Hallertau used this same naming convention, where the name "Hallertauer" was included in the cultivar name. Just as with "Hallertauer Mittelfruh" the presence of "Hallertauer" in the name does not necessarily indicate that the hop was grown in the Hallertau, and in some cases, as with Hallertauer Tradition, they may also be marketed simply as "Hallertau Hallertauer" when grown in the Hallertau.
In some cases, the "Hallertauer" is dropped from the name of these Hallertauer-named cultivars, as with Hallertauer Tradition, which is sometimes known simply as Tradition, or Hallertauer Magnum, which is sometimes known simply as Magnum. Therefore, it is often impossible to know whether the "Hallertau" in the name of a commercially marketed hop refers to the cultivar or the growing area.
To add to the confusion, hops derived from Hallertauer Mittelfruh in other parts of the world are sometimes given cultivar names which include "Hallertau" or "Hallertauer".
Other hops grown in the Hallertau and elsewhere with "Hallertau" in the cultivar name include:
- Hallertauer Gold
- Hallertauer Tradition
- Hallertauer Magnum
- Hallertauer Merkur
- Hallertauer Taurus
- New Zealand Hallertauer
Other Hops Grown in the Hallertau
As one of Germany's primary hop-growing regions, the Hallertau also grows many hops which originated in other parts of the world. In traditional hop nomenclature, these hops are given a designation of "Hallertauer" to indicate their place of origin, but when grown elsewhere the "Hallertauer" is dropped. These hop varieties include:
- Hersbrucker Spät
- Northern Brewer (sometimes sold as "Hallertau Northern Brewer" )
- Spalter (sometimes sold as Spalt, Spalter, or, incorrectly, as "Spalt Spalter")
- Spalt Select
List of Hop Varieties
The list below contains pages with more details on some of the specific varieties of hops described above.