The Breaking Point in noble hops

We all know and praise those German noble hops out of the Hallertau such as Hallertauer Mittelfrueh, Spalter Select, Tettnanger and Hersbrucker and use them in our traditional style Lagers, whether we be in Germany or somewhere else in the world. These hop varieties have been and still are a part of the framework of a very old and traditional brewing style that Germany has become known for.Unfortunately, unlike traditions, mother nature does not believe in keeping everything the same. As the years have progressed, so to have ever increasing climate temperatures which pose a problem for the hop growers in the Hallertau. Since 1881 the average annual temperature in Germany has risen by 1.6°C [1]. These rises in temperature have an effect on many noble hops in Europe, leading to smaller yields, unstable alpha and hop oil contents of the cones (which has a lot to do with an unwanted earlier blooming of the hop plant, resulting in a less homogeneous harvest) and decreased resistance to pests [2]. A great example of this is the Saaz hop in the CR, a hop variety that has been experiencing a steady decrease in alpha content from year to year [3]. On top of this, German hop farmer have found themselves needing to irrigate their fields, a concept that is not normal for the hop growers of the Hallertau.
Growing hop seedlings at GfH
Mr. Anton Lutz explaining the hop breeding process at GfH
The need to keep up with the environment to reduce the negative impacts on hop growing is the reason why the Gesellschaft fuer Hopfenforschung (GfH) in Huell was established in the first place, in 1928. The initial reason for its creation was to deal with a very intrusive pest by the name of Peronospora, that had spread across the European hop fields during this time. In order to avoid another such incident, the GfH, a Collective established by the brewers themselves, developed a breeding program designed to build up hop plants that were more resistant to pests and could weather changes in climate. In an effort to develop German hops that have more stable alpha, hop oil contents and a better resistance to our environment, the GfH in Huell has come out with new tried and proved variants such as Diamant, Aurum and Tango. These variants have been bred to provide the hop farmer with an alternative to the traditional German noble hops. These new varieties provide the hop grower with a more dependable harvest and the brewer with a hop flavour that is still closely related to the original noble hops.  All three of the before mentioned hop variants are offspring of traditional noble German hops. Diamant stems from Spalter, Aurum comes from the Tettnanger landrace and Tango has a trace of Hallertauer Tradition. As the prices for current German noble hops continues to rise while its quality continues to be undependable, one can only assume that a breaking point will soon be met, where the brewer will also deem it less economical to invest in the classic noble German hops and will hopefully give the new ones a chance.
[1] Gortana, F., Mast, M. and Tröger, J., 2021. ZEIT ONLINE | Lesen Sie zeit.de mit Werbung oder im PUR-Abo. Sie haben die Wahl.. [online] Zeit.de. Available at: <https://www.zeit.de/wissen/umwelt/2021-01/klimawandel-deutschland-2020-hitzerekord-globale-erwaermung-temperaturanstieg-gemeinden-klimastreifen> [Accessed 24 February 2021].
[2] Lutz, A., Dr. Seigner, E. and Dr. Kammhuber, K., 2019. Diamant – neue hochfeine Hüller Aromasorte. Brauwelt, 45, pp.1279-1283.
[3] Gahr, A. and Forster, A., 2020. The Saaz hop variety – how great is the influence of climate and growing region. Hopfen-Rundschau International, pp.38-44.