Tangier Hops: The Essential Guide

Published: July 10, 2024
A tangier hop on a vine

Many great hops come from the Pacific Northwest, including old-school greats like Centennial and Cascade, modern hits like Mosaic and Citra, and experimental hops such as HBC 586. All of those hops went through large breeding programs before becoming mainstream. But there has been a wave of new, compelling hops from a family-owned hop farm in the region, Segal Ranch. We’ve already written about two great varieties, Zumo and Anchovy. While Segal Ranch Owner John Segal absolutely loves those two hops, the farm’s Tangier hop is the one he gushes about most.

And rightfully so.

The Tangier hop has caught the eye of some heavy hitters in the craft beer industry, including Russian River Brewing and Stone Brewing. We chatted with Segal, Russian River Co-Founder and Head Brewer Vinnie Cilurzo, and Stone Senior Manager of Brewing Innovation and Supply Chain Jeremy Moynier to learn about Tangier’s history, analytics, and best brewing practices.

(Above photography courtesy of Segal Ranch)

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What Are the Ancestry and Analytics of Tangier Hops?

An aerial view of the hop farm at Segal Ranch

Photography courtesy of Segal Ranch

Segal Ranch operates a nursery dating back three decades. For two of those three decades, Martin Ramos, affectionately known as their “hop whisperer,” has been manning the breeding operations. Ramos came to Segal Ranch after working with Chuck Zimmerman, known for breeding Centennial and Chinook.

Segal Ranch created Tangier through its open pollination nursery. In 2021, the hop farm had one plant of Tangier (then referred to as EXP24-25) in the ground amongst its four-acre nursery. Only a year later, Segal Ranch had twenty-five plants in the ground. Segal admits he doesn’t recall rubbing the hop in its first year but has vivid memories of the experience in 2022.

“I rubbed some cones, and I got a huge navel orange aroma,” Segal recalls. “As I waved my hands and it oxidized, I got huge orange and tangerines.”

Segal says that he then went to rub other experimental hops in the nursery but was drawn back to EXP24-25.

“I have never smelled anything like it before,” he says. “I had to circle back to rub it again.”

At that time, he began calling it Tangie. Unfortunately, copyrights already existed for the name Tangie. After some research, though, Segal learned that tangerines were first imported to the U.S. from Tangier, Morocco.

“So that’s where we got the name,” Segal says.

While Segal doesn’t have much to share regarding analytics for the hop, he does offer a few metrics: The alpha acid is 8.6 percent, beta acid is 7.2 percent, and total oil is still being determined. The modest numbers are complemented by its impressive notes and steady growth.

The lot of Tangier hops has grown each subsequent year: from one plant in 2021 to twenty-five plants in 2022, then a half-acre in 2023 (three bales, or about six hundred pounds), and twenty-five acres this year.

I had to circle back to rub it again.
John Segal - Segal Ranch

“A Florida brewery wanted all the cones in 2022, and then in 2023 Vinnie [Cilurzo] rubbed the hops and had the same reaction as I did,” Segal says. “He bought six boxes, which was most of the 2023 harvest.”

Russian River has worked with Segal Ranch for years, developing a valuable relationship with the hop farm.

“We’ve been buying hops directly from Segal Ranch for well over a decade now and love the hops they supply us,” says Cilurzo. “Working with Segal is great; they are a small family farm putting out some amazing hops. Martin is an amazing ranch manager, and I’d encourage any brewer looking to work with a small grower to connect with John Segal.”

With Tangier, Segal says Russian River ran a series of test batches on its pilot system, and the panels for the tastings fell in love with the hop. From there, Russian River committed to Tangier, agreeing to a three-year contract on the hop.

“He wanted to buy so much, I almost fell off my chair,” Segal says. “He wanted enough hops to cover fifteen acres. That’s a sizable order for a brand new hop.”

According to Cilurzo, Tangier will go into some of Russian River’s most iconic beers, such as Blind Pig IPA and Pliny the Elder.

“What really struck me [of all the hops we’ve purchased from Segal] was Tangier, which we first rubbed a year or two back,” Cilurzo says. “From the 2023 harvest, we were able to purchase a small amount of Tangier to test in our pilot brewery, and now we are purchasing a good amount for the 2024 crop year.”

Other breweries like Stone, Other Half, Boulevard, and the New York Hop Guild have reached out to procure Tangier.

Moynier says Stone goes up to Segal each year at harvest season and rubs whatever they have that’s new.

“I was always curious in the back of my mind seeing farms breeding with different levels of success,” Moynier says. “Recently, it’s been more and more with Segal Ranch—Zumo and Anchovy recently—and then he showed us, two years ago, Tangier.”

He adds, “When you get a hop that smells like that, you get excited, but then you wonder if it will transfer into the brew.”

Moynier says that while most hops don’t transfer, Tangier does. And in taste panels for beers using the hop, it has aced.

“We are at the point that we love it,” Moynier says. “And we are trying to figure out what we want to do with it for next year.”

Overall, Segal says, “It’s a stunning time for Tangier.”

He adds, “This year, we had to go to an outside propagation [to fulfill all the orders, but], moving forward, we have land available, and we can blow this out for 2025 and beyond. I’m not anticipating meteoric growth, just solid growth. I’m hoping for upward of fifty acres. We try to keep it small and keep the quality up.”

While Segal Ranch completely sold out of its supply of Tangier this year, Segal says their friends at Hollingbery and Son do have some of the hop available.

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What Characteristics Pop Most in Tangier Hops?

As you would surmise from the name, Tangier has a true tangerine aroma and flavor in the finished beer. Upon rubbing the hop, most note an intense aroma as if you just peeled the skin of a navel orange. Segal believes there is something specific about Tangier that sets it apart.

I see a lot of orange and orange creamsicle,
Jeremy Moynier - Stone Brewing

“A lot of hops in the field are great on the rub, but they don’t always transfer,” he says. “In a beer, you get orange, orange blossom, citrus, tangerine, creamsicle, in a real way.”

Moynier says the tangerine is there, but something else came through more for him.

“I see a lot of orange and orange creamsicle,” he says. “It lends that juicy quality as well. I think it’s more intense in the beer. [In] the rub it was there and nice; it was more intensified when we brewed it.”

Cilurzo reminisces about when he experienced Tangier for the first time.

“I remember rubbing it for the first time, and I could not get enough of the aroma; it was like cutting into a fresh orange and getting that bright citrus aroma,” Cilurzo says. “The citrus-orange quality is really what makes Tangier so great; this is both in the aroma and flavor.”

Segal says it plays well with other hops, too.

“Orange citrus notes pop [when paired] with other hops,” Segal says. “I’ve had single-hop beers and paired with others, and each time, you get the orange and orange blossom in the aroma and the flavor.”

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When Should You Use Tangier Hops?

Side by side photo showing two hop farmers (left) and a row of hops (right)

Photography courtesy of Segal Ranch

Cilurzo uses Tangier in multiple stages throughout brewing.

“Tangier can be used mid-boil, whirlpool, or in the dry hop,” he says. “It worked well in all of these places.”

Segal defers to the brewers for this but notes that he knows about many whirlpool applications.

“It has been used in the hot side and the cold side,” he adds.

Moynier agrees with Segal about the whirlpool but adds that they also use it in other areas.

“We’re typically doing whirlpool and dry hop. Standard towards the end of fermentation,” Moynier says. “We did do early adds, but seeing the analytics, we might be [able to] lift or exaggerate with different adds.”

He says that Stone doesn’t do anything crazy with their additions, adding somewhere around a quarter pound per barrel in the whirlpool, and somewhere around one and a half to two pounds per barrel in the dry hop.

“Just that little bit, we get a lot,” he says. “You get nice attributes from it.”

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Can Tangier Hops Carry a Beer?

Most certainly, it can, depending on the beer. Segal says he’s seen it shine both as a single-hop beer or paired with others.

“I don’t necessarily believe in single-hop beers. I think breweries do it to get true expression,” Segal says. “I think in the scope of brewing, brewers are looking for a hop that can play well in the sandbox.”

Segal adds, “There are so many hops that give tropical notes. This is more tangerine, orange, and citrus. It can meld with so many different hops. It’s not tropical; it’s more orange notes. It’s exciting. Many hops talk about transferring orange, but this truly does transfer.”

I think in the scope of brewing, brewers are looking for a hop that can play well in the sandbox.
John Segal - Segal Ranch

Cilurzo says Russian River started using Tangier in a single-hop brew in their pilot brewery and eventually started incorporating it into some test brews using the same hops they use in Blind Pig IPA and Pliny the Elder.

“The hop incorporated very well,” Cilurzo admits. “In both cases, where we used the hop on its own and mixed in with other hops, those beers scored very well on our sensory panel.”

Moynier says they are typically looking for combinations of hops, but they did a single-hop beer with Tangier and said everyone loved it.

“If you’re looking for a straight citrus fruit bomb, you can do that, but I like to work around that to accentuate other hops,” Moynier says. “If you want a juicy orange bomb, you can just use it. But we tend to think of how to layer it.”

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Which Style of Beer Works Best for Tangier Hops?

A side by side photo showing some hops on a Segal Ranch sack (left) and a full-sized hop sack (right)

Photography courtesy of Segal Ranch

Segal says it’s a hop that works well “across the board,” seeing it used in lagers, pale ales, IPAs, double IPAs, and hazy beers.

“It’s really versatile,” he says. “If you want orange notes, Tangier can help your recipe. I’ve tasted beers across the board and it works in every style.”

Moynier says this isn’t your hop if you are looking for a resinous beer. Or add it, but pair it with something that can contribute that resiny flavor. Instead, he points to everything from West Coast IPA to a juicy pale ale to a hazy.

“I lean to more clean, clear beer. This hop is great with that,” Moynier says. “A pale ale is fantastic. But juicy and not bitter, a hazy would do well too. It is a hop that can claim different styles.”

At Stone, they made a single-hop hazy IPA called Steam Driven Single Hop Hazy IPA w/Tangier, served in their taproom only.

Russian River, on the other hand, has only used Tangier in a pale ale and IPA, but that doesn’t mean Cilurzo doesn’t see benefits in other styles, saying, “I bet it would also do really well in a West Coast Pils.”

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About The Author

Giovanni Albanese

Giovanni is a content writer for Next Glass, contributing to the Ollie blog. He is a writer by day and a brewer/business owner by night, owning and operating Settle Down Brewery & Taproom in Gilroy, California.

Giovanni is passionate about a number of things, including history, documentaries and sports, but none more than reporting/writing and brewing beer. After receiving a radio broadcasting degree then a journalism degree from Salem State College in his home state of Massachusetts, he relocated to California in 2008.

Then, his writing career kicked off – covering sports, business, politics and more along the way – while concurrently dabbling in home brewing. The home brewing turned pro in 2021 when he launched SDB Brewing Company. Settle Down Beer officially opened in February.

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