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The name Hallertauer comes from the German region of Hallertau and Mittelfruh is considered one of the finest of it’s kind. Hallertauer Mittelfruh is a noble hop and of the landrace variety, meaning because of it very long history and open pollination it suits the region it grows in perfectly.
It is also grown in other areas of Germany such as Spalt and Tettnang which leads confusingly to variations called Spalt Hallertauer and Tettnang Hallertauer even though both Spalt and Tettnang produce hops with the same names as well.
The name Mittelfruh means middle early relating to the harvest time in the growing season.
Hallertauer Mittelfruh is one of the finest examples of a noble aroma hop. It is delicate and mild and has pleasing herbal and floral notes as well as a slight spiciness. It is almost always associated with German Lagers and are part of what defines them. They are also great in many other styles as well as ales, lighter beers in general allow the delicate aromas come through and I have found them particularly good in Kolsch and Blonde style ales.
There are many varieties of Hallertauer hop which makes purchasing slightly confusing, you may be buying Mittelfruh that aren’t even grown in the Hallertau region so look for hops with their origin clearly marked.
If a substitute is to be made a few options have similar properties but of course are not quite the same. Crystal, Hallertauer Hersbruck, Liberty and Mount Hood are worth investigation.
As I said before they are widely used in German Pilsner style beers and a couple of beers you’ll be able to find anywhere are Sam Adam’s Boston Lager that uses Mittelfruh as an aroma hop as well as Bitburger Premium Pils http://beeradvocate.com/beer/profile/613/1641 one being a German Style Lager and the other an actual German one.
Mittelfruh are also found in some Belgian ales I believe Chimay brewery use them as a finishing hop in most of their beers.