Cascade is an aroma hop that was developed by the U.S.D.A. hop breeding program in Oregon and released in 1972. It contains low amounts of alpha acids (4.5-7%). The aroma is of medium strength and provides a unique floral/spicy character with well balanced bittering potential. It is the most popular hop with the U.S. craft brewing industry. Cascade is often used in brewing Pale Ales, IPAs and Porters. It is a medium maturity hop variety and yields 1600 to 2000 pounds of dry hops per acre. It is tolerant to downy mildew and resistant to powdery mildew. (All disease ratings are taken from the "Compendium of Hop Diseases and Pests" by Mahaffee, Pethybridge and Gent.)
Centennial is an aroma variety that was released in 1990. Typical alpha acid content ranges from 9.5 to 11.5%. It is considered a very balanced hop and sometimes referred to as a super Cascade. It is well-suited for Ales, Wheat beers and IPAs. It is a medium maturity hop variety and typically yields 1500 to 1750 pounds of dry hops per acre. It is tolerant to downy mildew and its level of tolerance to powdery mildew is unknown.
Chinook was developed by the U.S.D.A. hop breeding program in Washington State and released in 1985 as a high alpha variety (typical alpha acid content ranges from 12 to 14%) It has a medium strength aroma profile and is becoming increasingly popular with U.S. craft brewers. Chinook is often used in Pale Ales, Stouts, Porters and in Lagers for bittering. It is a medium maturity hop variety and typically yields 1700 to 2100 pounds of dry hops per acre. It is tolerant to downy mildew and its level of tolerance to powdery mildew is unknown.
Zeus is often grouped with Columbus and Tomahawk and called CTZ. They are referred to as Super High Alpha varieties, having alpha acid content of between 14.5 and 16.5%. Together they make up approximately a quarter of the entire U.S. hop acreage. Zeus is commonly used in American IPAs, Pale Ales, Stouts and Lagers. Zeus is a late maturity hop variety and typically yields 2500 to 2900 pounds of dry hops per acre. It is tolerant to downy mildew and susceptible to powdery mildew.
Named after the Oregon's Willamette River, which runs through the state's hop growing region, Willamette was released in 1976 from the U.S.D.A. hop breeding program. The variety is characterized by a low alpha acid content and mild aroma (typical alpha acid content ranges from 4 to 6%). It is the most popular American aroma hop accounting for approximately 20% of total U.S. hop acreage. The aroma can be described as mild, slightly spicy and pleasant. It is often used in Ales and Lagers. Willamette is an early maturity hop variety and typical yields range from 1300 to 1700 pounds of dry hops per acre. It is tolerant to downy mildew and susceptible to powdery mildew.