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Hops Insider: Middle-Finger Hops, Bag-of-Weed Terpenes, and More

New varieties and products on the immediate horizon range from a defiantly intriguing public hop to compounds that might emulate “sticking your head in a bag of weed.” Will you apply the eye dropper, or the sledgehammer?

Stan Hieronymus Jun 10, 2024 - 12 min read

Hops Insider: Middle-Finger Hops, Bag-of-Weed Terpenes, and More Primary Image

Photo: Stan Hieronymus

In the office at Cloudburst Brewing in Seattle, there is an empty foil packet pinned to the wall. On that packet, owner-brewer Steve Luke has drawn a red heart around a white label that reads “HQG2015034-023S.” He’s pierced the heart with an arrow.

That number was assigned to an experimental hop cultivar funded by the Hop Quality Group (HQG), which established its breeding program for new public hops in 2015. That hop has since graduated to a smaller number—HQG4—but group members have taken to calling it “the Middle Finger.”

In April, brewers attending a seminar at the Craft Brewers Conference in Las Vegas saw why, and they smelled why. (The title of that seminar: “The Next Great Hop: What's New in Public Hop Breeding and How You Can Contribute.”) Later, they also had a chance to taste why.

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