Willamette Hops was named after the mighty river that pours through the Willamette Valley in Southern Washington and Northern Oregon. Willamette Hops was developed and released by the U.S.D.A in 1976 and has taken root on the craft brewing industry and accounts for about 20% of total U.S. hops acreage. Pow! Willamette Hops was a triploid seedling of Fuggle, which is a quintessential English variety that has shaped decades of beer brewing.
Willamette Hops is an aroma variety with a low alpha acid content at 4.0%-6.0%. Although Willamette can contribute slightly to the bittering of a homebrew or craft beer, Willamette dominates its usage for its flavor and aroma. Of the oils in Willamette, myrcene (30.0%-55.0%), humulene (20.0%-30.0%), as well as farnesene (5.0%-6.0%) are all elevated above the norm. This results in a delicate peppery herbaceous spice that has both fruit and floral essence. yum.
Since its introduction, Willamette Hops has been growing in demand as well as supply. It is one of the most common aroma hops used in the United States. And brewers that use it seem to use it a lot. Willamette Hops is on the low side of the yield range producing 1340-1700 lbs/acre. And the small to medium size cones are somewhat loose, which impacts harvesting. Early to mid season marks the time when Willamette Hops cones are ready for bailing and drying, and this comes after a vigorous growing cycle. Despite its susceptibility to mildew and wilt Willamette proves to be a foundation of modern craft brewing in the U.S. and abroad.