Get to Know Your Hops: Amarillo

Amarillo hops, ahoy! Photo: Flickr/Scott Mioduszewski

The story of Amarillo hops starts with serendipity. One day, the farmers at Washington’s Virgil Gamache Farms discovered a wild hop variety growing on the land.

“We thought, that’s a different looking hop plant,” Darren Gamache told Edible Seattle. “And so, we smelled the cones and we thought a beer should taste like this. The rest is history.”

The strange hop variety possessed a spicy, semi-sweet character, with a super-citrusy aroma verging on oranges. It recalled the quintessential American hop, Cascade (the reason you love Sierra Nevada Pale Ale), but only more so. Cascades on steroids, if you may. Sensing a winner, Gamache helped the family business patent this proprietary strain, which was dubbed Amarillo and is exclusively grown at Virgil Gamache Farms.

Amarillo’s aromatic star shines brightest in wheat-driven ales, pale ales and IPAs. Any questions? Good—class dismissed. Now try Amarillo in one of these five excellent American beers.

Curious about which beers use this singular hop? Check out my five picks over at Food Republic.