You may have noticed that we’re pretty excited about all of the hops coming out of New Zealand. With the recent hop harvest in March of this year, we have been utilizing these Southern Hemisphere hops in many of our new beer releases, including our latest Luponic Distortion, Nelson, Nectaron, and recent Propagator series Elenna hazy IPA.

It all started four years ago when Firestone Walker Brewmaster Matt Brynlidson first toured several family hop farms in the famed Nelson region of New Zealand. As he rubbed and smelled different hops, one experimental cultivar really got Matt’s attention, Nectaron. This hop was loaded with tropical fruit aromas of passionfruit and grapefruit. The following year, Matt returned to New Zealand where hop farmer Brent McGlashen of MAC Farms recalled how much Matt had liked the Nectaron hop. He gave Matt early dibs on some of the new harvest.

I’ve never seen anybody so pumped. It’s so cool working with this guy, and I appreciate his emphasis on sustainability.”

— Matt Brynildson

Nectaron isn’t the only New Zealand hop we have been working with. Nelson is another renowned New Zealand-grown hop, and Matt has gone the extra mile to make the most of it, working with two growers to harvest them at peak maturity. This resulted in a hop that delivers big bursts of white grape and citrus notes.

Riwaka is a bit of a white whale in the hop world.

— Matt Brynildson

Riwaka is a little more difficult to cultivate, so only a handful of growers have had success with it. It’s a very unique hop, and any brewer that gets a chance to test it is filled with excitement as they smell the pink grapefruit and passionfruit-like aromas.

Motueka is another favorite New Zealand hop of Matt’s. It has been on his radar since his first trip to New Zealand. He notes, “We have worked with Motueka now for a couple of years, and although it isn’t as bold as Nelson and Nectaron, it’s another beautiful aromatic hop that perfectly supports the unique Southern Hemisphere vibe with bright lime and lemon zest notes.”

These four incredible New Zealand hops (Nectaron, Nelson, Riwaka and Motueka) feature in some of our latest beer releases:

  1. Crafted Thru Hops IPA Mixed Packs featuring Nectaron Single Hop Hazy IPA (5.6%, 30 IBU) and Nelson Single Hop IPA (5.6%, 45 IBU)
  2. Luponic Distortion IPA #18 (5.9%, 50 IBU) features Nectaron, Nelson, Riwaka and Motueka for an explosively hoppy West Coast IPA. Learn more here.
  3. Elenna Hazy IPA (7.3%, 43 IBU) is our haziest IPA yet! Learn more here.

Find all of these New Zealand hopped IPAs and many more Firestone Walker beers near you with our Beer Finder.