Agriculture Department scientists are finding that if you brew a better beer, the world will beat a path to your door.
They have developed some new, American varieties of hops and barley that they say provide OldWorld flavor and superior malting qualities, and are working on several more.
Last spring, plant geneticist Alfred Haunold said he released the newest hop, called Liberty, said to have the desirable aroma qualities found in its parent, a popular German hop called Hallertauer Mittelfruh.
"Yet Liberty isn't troubled by the disease problems and poor yields that have all but wiped out plantings of Hallertauer bred in Europe," said a report in the September issue of the USDA magazine Agricultural Research.
Liberty thrives in the temperate Pacific Northwest and produces double the yields of the Old World variety. A similar hop, Mt. Hood, was released in 1989. in Corvallis, Ore.
About 58 million pounds of hops are harvested each year in Washington, Oregon and Idaho.