blue and white abstract painting

Chinook Hops: Aromatic Excellence in Craft Beer


Chinook hops, celebrated for their exceptional aroma and versatility, have become a staple in the craft beer world. With their distinctive pine, spice, and grapefruit characteristics, Chinook hops add a delightful complexity to a wide range of beer styles. In this blog post, we will explore the captivating qualities of Chinook hops, diving into their origins, unique attributes, and the impact they have had on the craft beer landscape.

Origins of Chinook Hops

Chinook hops were developed in the United States by the USDA breeding program in the early 1980s. They are a cross between Petham Golding and a USDA male hop plant. Named after the Native American tribe from the Pacific Northwest, Chinook hops are deeply rooted in American hop cultivation.

Unique Characteristics of Chinook Hops

Chinook hops are prized for their robust and distinctive flavour and aroma profile. Here are some notable characteristics:

Aromatic Excellence

Chinook hops boast an exceptional aromatic quality that sets them apart. They exude intense piney, resinous, and spicy notes, reminiscent of the Pacific Northwest forests. The aroma is often described as bold, pungent, and reminiscent of evergreen forests.

Citrus and Grapefruit Zest

Alongside their resinous aromas, Chinook hops offer delightful citrus and grapefruit characteristics. They contribute a zesty, tangy, and refreshing quality to beers, balancing the robust pine and spice with a burst of citrus goodness.

Versatile Bitterness

Chinook hops offer a versatile bitterness that suits a variety of beer styles. With alpha acid content typically ranging from 11% to 14%, Chinook hops deliver a solid bitterness that can be tailored to fit the desired intensity. They work well in both hop-forward beers and as a supporting hop in balanced styles.

Resilient and Hardy

Chinook hops are known for their resilience and adaptability. They can withstand harsh growing conditions and are resistant to common hop diseases. This resilience makes them a reliable choice for hop growers, ensuring consistent availability for brewers.

Impact on Craft Beer

Chinook hops have had a significant impact on the craft beer industry, influencing the flavour profiles of various beer styles. Here are a few ways Chinook hops have made their mark

West Coast IPAs

Chinook hops are synonymous with West Coast IPAs, where their resinous and citrusy character shines. They contribute to the signature hop-forward and assertively bitter nature of these beers, adding depth and complexity to the hop profile.

American Pale Ales

Chinook hops play a vital role in American Pale Ales, providing a robust hop presence that complements the malt backbone. They infuse the beer with piney and grapefruit flavours, resulting in a refreshing and balanced brew.

Imperial IPAs

Chinook hops are often utilized in Imperial IPAs to create bold and assertive hop profiles. Their intense aroma and high alpha acid content make them ideal for adding layers of complexity and bitterness to these stronger and more hop-forward beers.

Amber Ales

Chinook hops can also be found in Amber Ales, where they contribute a distinctive resinous and spicy character. They add a touch of pine and spice to the malty backbone, creating a well-rounded and flavourful beer.


Chinook hops have carved a place for themselves in the craft beer world, offering aromatic excellence and a distinctive flavour profile. With their robust pine, citrus, and spice characteristics, Chinook hops bring depth and complexity to a wide range of beer styles, from West Coast IPAs to Amber Ales. As you raise a glass of beer featuring Chinook hops, celebrate the unique qualities they bring, and appreciate the craftsmanship and artistry that goes into brewing with these exceptional hops.