Challenger was given to the brewing world by Wye College in 1972. It has a long list of family members, its aunt is Northdown, and its granny is Northern Brewer. Challenger UK is a reasonably tough hop with good growing characteristics and is high yielding with excellent storage stability.
Challenger is a bittering hop that offers a lovely, refreshing and full-bodied, rounded bitterness. It also gives a very crisp, fruity character to any brew it’s in. Challenger is an excellent, versatile hop with cedar, green tea, sweet fruit and spicy aromas and it has proved extremely popular since its release into the world.
People love Challenger; in fact, in in the ’80s and ’90s, it accounted for one of the most substantial volumes of hops grown in the UK. It is very good for use in barley wines, brown ales and imperial stouts. Being so flexible and complex, it has also been used a lot more recently in pale ales and some fresh new versions of English ales. This is one of the best attributes of Challenger hops; its unique flavour profile has meant that its transition from traditional to modern brewing styles has been effortless.
This very versatile hop is still growing in popularity, as it has a wide application and can be added into the kettle early or late. You can sacrifice its flavours for its lovely bitterness or sacrifice a bit of its bitterness and get all of the sweet fruit and green tea aromas and tastes.
Challenger is an excellent hop for the brewers that love to try new things. It was invented in the ’70s by combining some unique hops, and now it could be your turn to combine it with something else in a special mixture and create a beer that makes everybody truly proud of English hops!
Aroma Profile: Cedar, Sweet Fruit, Green Tea, Spicy
Style Guide: Pale Ale, English Ale, Brown Ale, Imperial Stout, Barley Wine
If you’re new to choosing and using hops we have a handy Hop Substitution chart to help you find the right flavours or alternatives to what your recipe requires.
We also have lots of information in our Brew With Us help section of the website, here you can find lots of free information about brewing, how to use hops, and so much more.