Almost, every day we get inquiries for two of the most sought-after hop varietals in the industry: Galaxy hops (grown in Australia) and Nelson Sauvin (grown in New Zealand). While we bring in a limited quantity each year for some of our key accounts, these two varieties seem to be in such high-demand that the spot market is pricing these beyond the reach of most brewers.
Now don’t get us wrong, we love the aroma and flavor of both varieties. Galaxy is a beautiful clean hop with incredible peach, passion fruit and citrus notes. Nelson Sauvin, on the other hand, is named after Sauvignon Blanc, and like its namesake, has a wonderful wine grape aroma and flavor profile.
Pricing on the spot market for these varieties, however, ranges from just out of reach to out of this world. Recently we saw the spot market price on the Lupulin Exchange, an online exchange for hop brokers and sellers, reach as high as $65 USD per pound for Galaxy, and almost as high for Nelson. Obviously, this makes brewing with these varietals quite uneconomical.
For those inquiries we can’t fill, we often steer brewers to other varieties with similar character traits to recreate the flavor profile they are trying to obtain. For example, we think that Vic Secret and Ella, two other varieties grown in Australia have flavor profiles that approach the profile of Galaxy. Less similar but reasonably close North American varieties would be Citra, Amarillo, or even Falconer’s Flight. For Nelson, we like to point brewers to varieties that have similar wine grape characteristics. We think Hallertau Blanc (grown in Germany) has hints of grape and wine that approach the character of Nelson. Another interesting potential substitute is Tardif de Bourgogne, a French hop varietal grown in the Burgundy wine-growing region of France.
So before you part with your $65.00 for a pound of Galaxy, consider researching the above varieties as a potential substitution in your brew at a substantially lower cost. While less popular than Galaxy and Nelson, you may find that the flavor profiles are exactly what you are looking for. Worst case, you just might stumble on a new flavor that gives your brew an edge over everyone else chasing $65.00 a pound hops…