When it comes to selecting a hop variety, customers often ask two questions. First, what hop variety is best for a specific beer style and second, what varieties can be substituted if the original recommendation is not readily available or known.
While we at YCH can make recommendations for hop variety selections, brewers themselves often share ideas and group different varieties together. No better example exists of this than CTZ. As one of the most popular and longstanding varieties, the history of Columbus and its CTZ counterparts runs deep.
CTZ is an acronym for three similar high alpha bittering varieties: Columbus, Tomahawk® and Zeus. Columbus is a descendant of Nugget and displays black pepper, licorice, curry and subtle citrus aromas and a 14.5-17% alpha content. It has become known as a well-rounded, clean bittering hop great for bold IPAs, Imperial Ales and Pale Ales. The variety was initially bred by renowned hop breeder, Charles Zimmermann and is part of the three most popular C varieties associated with his efforts, including Cascade and Centennial.
Shortly following the release of Columbus in the early 1990s, Tomahawk® Brand F10 became the first commercially grown super-alpha variety. It was discovered that Tomahawk® was originally grown from the same rhizome as Columbus and carries the same genetic makeup. As such, Tomahawk® displays an almost identical alpha content as well as similar citrus, spicy and herbal aroma characteristics. Despite being deemed genetically identical hop varieties, Columbus and Tomahawk® hops were (and still are) grown, branded and sold under separate names. Thus, the C and T were formed.
Simultaneous to the release of Columbus and Tomahawk® was Zeus, which although it is genetically different, also displays similar aroma and alpha content. Brewers immediately noticed the similarities between this trio of hops and began referring to these seemingly interchangeable varieties as the collective CTZ.
Today, the hop industry continues to produce and distribute Columbus, Tomahawk® and Zeus under their individual names, although under special circumstances, all three may be used to produce a hop pellet blend or hop extract under the name CTZ.
If you are interested in these varieties or learning more about their similarities, please visit our hop varieties tab. You can also visit our spot availability page to place an order. Finally, information for CTZ hop extract can be found on our Resinate CO2 hop extract product page.
We’d also love to hear your feedback regarding these varieties in the review section below.