“It definitely has a lot of bang for the buck in terms of flavour.”

Sam Richardson, pictured above with NZ Hops Master Grower Colin Oldham from New Hoplands, left, and NZ Hops’ Dr Ron Beatson, right.

Other Half Brewing’s founder and brewer Sam Richardson believes Nectaron® – released by NZ Hops Ltd commercially in 2020 and available in Australia through Bintani – is New Zealand’s answer to Citra.

Sam, who founded one of the world’s top proponents of the modern IPA in Brooklyn, New York City in 2014, uses Nectaron® in their single hop All Nectaron Everything hazy Imperial IPA. He said that while it can be incredibly expressive on its own it also works brilliantly with other varieties.

“Our goal as a brewery that does a lot of IPAs is to find a hop that can do what Citra does – Citra makes incredible beers that are all-Citra and plays well with others. And I would say within the new breed of New Zealand hops Nectaron® is the closest to that.”

Sam visited New Zealand in March for the annual hop selection and found what a lot of New Zealand brewers already know —that what you get from Nectaron® in the field is reflected in the beer.

“We were one of first breweries to do selection with this hop. And from when I did the rub and brought back my memories of previous beers, I had made with Nectaron®, it is very true.

“The flavours are just as they are described: sweet pineapple, peach… and one thing I get is little more onion-garlic than a lot of New Zealand hops, and again it’s a little more like Citra in that regard.

“It definitely has a lot of bang for the buck in terms of flavour. It shines a little better in double IPAs than singles and it is amazing with Citra, they are very complementary but different at the same time.

“It also goes well with Motueka, and I feel it will go well with Mosaic. I feel really positively about it, and we plan to expand our uses of it.”

Whilst commercially released in 2020, it was first bred 16 years prior by New Zealand’s leading hop geneticist Dr Ron Beatson.

The fruit bomb hop was developed at the same time as its sister Waimea – a huge alpha hop (16%-19%) that was released in 2012. Nectaron® (or Hort 4337 as it was known) was ready at the same time, but the industry was not ready for Nectaron®.

“Wind the clock back a few years … and Waimea got the jump on Nectaron® into commercial production because it was higher in alpha acid, which is what the industry wanted back then,” Dr Ron said, who the “nectar of the Gods” hop is named in honour of.

“But we knew that Nectaron® was pretty good from other aspects – it was very good agronomically and all these other attributes. It was a hop ahead of its time.”

A gigantic cone physically (it can fill the entire palm of your hand), it is also a giant when it comes to flavour and aroma.

Nectaron®’s performance, especially as a dry hop, reflects the chemical composition: high in total oils (1.5-2ml per 100g), low in cohumulone (26-28%), high humulene-to-caryophyllene ratio (3.6), and – ironically – still relatively high alpha acids (11-13%) for an aroma hop.

Dr Ron said there was once a saying within NZ Hops Ltd that they were looking for “the golden fleece, the unobtainable one … a hop with good oils, good all-round chemistry and which suited growers and brewers alike — and that would be Nectaron®.”

NZ Hops Ltd said Australian brewers who want to get their hands on this wonder-hop will be able to do so, with plenty available after the hop’s recently completed third season of commercial production. Contact Bintani for all Australian Nectaron® orders as well as NZ Hops’ other New Zealand varieties.

This is sponsored content. To find out more talk to the Beer & Brewer sales manager.