Germany's big five - hop growing regions

Germany’s moderately warm climate is perfect for the cultivation of hops. Hops have been grown in Germany as early as the 8th century. The five leading hop growing regions of Germany are the Hallertau, Elbe/Saale, Tettnang, Spalt and Bitburg/Rheinpfalz.

German Flag - Photo: Christian Wiediger (Unsplash)
German Flag - Photo: Christian Wiediger (Unsplash)

Hallertau - the centre of German hop production

The Hallertau in Bavaria is the centre of hop cultivation and research in Germany and produces more than 80% of the annual German hop harvest. With a total area of around 172 km² and more than 800 individual hop farms, the Hallertau is the largest continuous hop growing region in the world. In 2020, the average size of a Hallertau hop farm was 19.5 ha or 0.195 km². In the town of Hüll/Wolznach you can find the Hop Research Center, which has been a driving force behind Germany’s hop breeding and hop harvesting innovations. The most important hops for the Hallertau are: Herkules, Perle, Hallertau Tradition, Hallertau Magnum, Hersbrucker Spät and Hallertau Mittelfrüh.

Elbe-Saale - hop tradition at the “heart” of Germany

The Elbe-Saale area stretches across the German states of Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt, and Thuringia, along the main two rivers of the region - Elbe and Saale. Hop cultivation in the Elbe-Saale goes back to the Middle Ages but from the 17th century, it lost acreage to the southern hop growing regions. From the 1950s onwards, we could observe a revival of hop cultivation at Elbe-Saale as the government of the German Democratic Republic (GDR / DDR) aimed to become more self-sufficient and less reliant on hop imports for beer production. After Germany’s reunification, Elbe-Saale remained a very important hop growing region. In 2020, 29 hop producers cultivate more than 15 km² of hops. While the total acreage seems very small compared to the Hallertau, hop farms are on average bigger in the Elbe-Saale region: 54 ha or 0.54 km² compared to 19.5 ha in the Hallertau.

Tettnang - the southernmost hop growing region

The third largest region behind Elbe-Saale is Tettnang. The Tettnang area in the southwest of Germany, near Lake Constance, is the most southern hop growing region of Germany. Hops have been grown in and around Tettnang for more than 175 years. In 1844, citizens of Tettnang planted the first hops and established the first hop fields. With time, this turned a predominantly wine-growing region into hop country. Today, ca 1,479 ha / 14.79 km² of land in and around Tettnang are used for growing all kinds of aroma and flavour hops. The most important hops for growers in the region are Tettnang, Hallertau Mittelfrüh, Perle and Herkules.


At ca 408 ha / 4 km², Spalt is the fourth largest hop growing area in Germany. Located north of the Hallertau and south of Nuremberg, Spalt is in the Franconia region. In the 16th century, “Spalter Hopfen” was the first to receive a hop seal, which assured the quality and provenance of Spalt hops. It became the role model for all following hop provenance laws across Germany. Spalt is most famous for the eponymous Spalter and Spalter Select hop varieties. In addition, a number of other hop varieties grow in Spalt, including Perle, Herkules, Hallertau Mittelfrüh, Saphir, and many more.

Bitburg / Rheinpfalz

Historically, Bitburg in the Eifel region (southwest Germany, near the Luxembourg border) has been closely connected to the Bitburger brewery, one of Germany’s biggest industrial lager brewers. There are only two hop producers who cultivate hops on 22 ha acreage - tiny compared to Germany’s other hop growing regions. They predominantly grow Herkules, Perle, Hallertau Tradition and Hallertau Mittelfrüh. It’s safe to assume most of the hops grown in Bitburg won’t be available on the open market and will be used in Bitburger beers.

Modern flavours made in Germany

Once famous for traditional “noble hops”, today more and more US “flavour hops” are grown in Germany as well, for example Cascade and Amarillo®. In addition, Hüll Research Center’s hop innovations introduced unknown fruity and tropical aromas to German hop fields. New hop varieties like Mandarina Bavaria, Huell Melon and Hallertau Blanc really shook up our understanding of what aromas German hops can offer.

Hop harvest and cultivation area in Germany

Hop varieties grown in Germany

Hop varieties originating from Germany