‘4 Cs’ of Hops Still Can be Relevant to Craft Brewers

As more and more varieties of hops come into the market, taking a step back and recognizing the “ones that got us here” is also a tried and true way to developing a fine brew. Stone Brewing took that step with its new Pale Ale, “Ripper” as it dug deep into the past with a seldom used hop in its arsenal by using Cascade hops along with its Australian counterpart of Galaxy.

Cascade is a part of “The 4 Cs” with Centennial, Columbus and Chinook that brewers relied on for years. And they are still helpful many said, but admit they have been relegated at times.

“They have fallen to the side when compared to names like Citra, Lemondrop, Mosaic, Sorachi Ace and some of the southern hemisphere hops,” admits Justin Beardsley of California’s Eight Bridges Brewing.

“I think that Centennial hops have been used less and less over the last few years,” said Ale Asylum Head Brewer Chris Riphenburg. “Ten years ago, it was one of a few staple hops used in craft brewing. We still use this wonderful hop in many of our beers throughout the year.”


For North Carolina’s Lonerider Brewing, Columbus is a pretty under appreciated hop.

“It’s high alpha makes it a good bittering hop,” said Galen Smith, Lonerider’s Head Brewer, “while at the same time, it has a very earthy and dank aroma that works well for late additions and dry hopping.”

Captain Lawrence Brewing touts about its “Palate Shifter” Imperial IPA: ‘When your everyday IPA no longer satisfies your craving for hoppy nectar, you have experience a Lupulin Threshold shift. The only cure is more hops!’

“I think Chinook is a great one,” said Scott Vaccaro, the brewery’s owner and Head Brewer. “You don’t hear too much about it these days but we use it in [“Palate Shifter”].”

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