Challenger is a British hop developed at Wye College in 1972 and has lineage with Target, Northdown and Northern Brewer. It has a decent bittering quality and a floral aroma which makes it suitable for both bittering and dry hopping.
Its flavor is smooth with balanced floral characteristics, some citrus and a dash of spice. It is a versatile dual purpose hop and excels in boiler, hop back and cask additions.
Origin and History
Brewers used to rely on the natural qualities of hops to impart bitterness and shelf-life to beer, but as the industry became more industrial, brewers started looking for better varieties. They wanted to be able to use fewer hops to achieve the same flavor and aroma profiles as traditional varieties.
As such, breeders started systematically selecting different types of hops for specific qualities. They would select for traits that they knew would make the hops more productive or resistant to certain diseases, while avoiding traits that were not important.
This was an important strategy for ensuring that newer hybrids would be able to compete with the classic varieties. It also helped preserve the character of old-style hops.
Characteristics and Flavor Profile
Challenger Hops are one of the most versatile English hop varieties, blending bittering and aromatic characteristics to produce a wide range of beer styles. Their moderate bittering quality complements the rich flavors of cedar, green tea and spice, resulting in a distinctly English aroma and flavor.
Bred at Wye College in 1972 with lineage to Northern Brewer and German Zattler, this woodsy variety accounted for a large portion of the UK hop industry during the 1980s and 1990s.
This dual purpose hop combines an excellent aroma with good bittering value, making it a workhorse for any brewing house. The high alpha acid rating and citrus bouquet make it a favorite in IPAs, APAs and Pale Ales.
Challenger Hops are a British hop that was developed at Wye College in 1972 and released for commercial planting. This was a hybrid between a hop showing high resistance to downy mildew and a hop from the Northern Brewer family.
Challenger is a dual purpose British aroma and bittering hop, with a spicy citrus aroma and moderate alpha acid content. It is an excellent choice for use in many English style ales and lagers.
When used early in the boil, it imparts a clean, full-bodied bitterness with a smooth and balanced floral aroma. Its spicy flavor adds a nice complement to other hops in the boil. It’s also an excellent dry hopping hop and can be used in a variety of beer styles including ESBs, porters, and stouts.
Pairing of $ prompt with different beer styles
Challenger is a dual purpose hop that excels in the dry hopping department and as a boiler or hop back addition. Its smooth, balanced floral characteristics are complimented by some citrus and a hint of spice.
Its high alpha content and moderate cohumulone yield a potent, smooth bitterness that can complement and even tone down the more tropically flavored hops in your lineup. A pronounced piney character can also be found in the form of this one, particularly in an IPA where it is best displayed as a dry hop.
With its combination of the right ingredients, the Challenger hop can make a big splash in your next brew. The key is to take note of its strengths, and pair it with the right amount and type of hops for your recipe.
Availability and Cultivation
Challenger hops are a dual-use variety, providing a full-rounded bitterness along with an elegant spiciness. This makes them ideal for a wide variety of beer styles, from classic British ales to modern styles.
In the UK, Challenger hops are primarily grown in the counties of Herefordshire and Worcestershire. They are also available from English craft brewers such as Bass in Burton-on-Trent and DEYA Brewing Company in Cheltenham.
Commercial hop cultivation requires high trellising systems for support, and the use of fertilizers to increase crop yield. However, these systems are susceptible to heavy loads imposed by wind and rain. In addition, they are sensitive to pests such as aphids, which feed on the sap of hop cones. Aphids also cause serious damage to the whole plant, reducing production and commercial value.