The popular trial hop NZH-102 is now known as Superdelic.

NZ Hops Ltd released Superdelic today after more than 10 years of breeding work — and the early brewer trials suggest it will become as popular as the recently-released Nectaron, which took 17 years to come to market.

“This exceptional hop is a playful number, with red fruit, candy, citrus and tropical fruit characteristics, offering brewers something totally different to use in their craft. We’re excited to release this unique hop and expect it will create a frenzy,” said Blair Stewart, general manager of NZ Hops.

Superdelic was developed as part of the hop breeding partnership with Plant & Food Research, where Kerry Templeton leads the hop breeding programme. Templeton said Superdelic has excellent yield potential and will allow growers to produce high-quality hops more efficiently and sustainably. “And in the brewers’ hands, new and interesting beers will come from Superdelic’s unique flavour and aroma profile.”

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Superdelic Logo

Superdelic’s journey started under Templeton’s predecessor Ron Beatson, who led the hop breeding programme at Plant & Food Research before his retirement in 2021.

“The use of both European ancestry and New Zealand stocks when breeding Superdelic has resulted in flavours different from others in the portfolio, complimenting other varieties when used together. It will be a significant player,” Beatson said.

Several of the co-op’s 27 growers have been involved in early grower trials for Superdelic, including Wilson Matthewson of Glenrae Hops. “We’ve been impressed with Superdelic’s vigorous bine growth. It promises to yield well, and it looks spectacular out in the field. We’re hopeful for an excellent harvest and can’t wait to see it performing well for the brewers.”

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As NZH-102, Superdelic was used widely last year in NZ Hops’ Bract Brewing Programme, where select brewers trialled the hop to explore its characteristics, aromas, and brewing performance.

Mike Sutherland, of Sawmill, is a huge fan and Sawmill has released the first Superdelic-branded beer to coincide with the launch.

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“From the very first brew we knew it was something special. In a Hazy IPA it revealed its ripe mango, sweet berry, and citrus notes. We also noticed its unique performance, with great biotransformation properties from dry hopping during active fermentation. It is an incredible addition to our brewery. We were lucky to be one of the first to try it.” Sutherland said.

Stewart said the commercialisation of a new variety will build on the profile of Nectaron and boost export sales. Over 85% of New Zealand-grown hops are exported, with a turnover of around $40 million.

“Nectaron brought a whole new flavour profile to the market in 2020, with its full tropical notes. Demand for Nectaron grows every year and we expect the same with Superdelic,” Stewart said.

Superdelic will be a star turn during NZ Hop’s two-day festival, HarFest, on March 20-21 when they will showcase the hop growing and the breeding programme to visiting brewers from Australia, the United States, the United Kingdom and from around New Zealand.