The Cheapest Hops With the Most Versatility and Value for Homebrewers

Choosing the right hops for your homebrew can be a long and tedious process with so many varieties and sources. It’s important that you get the best hops at the best value.

The cheapest hops with the most versatility and value are going to be both bittering and aromatic hops. These include, but are not limited to, Centennial, Cascade, Nugget, and Citrus. One of the best places to buy these hops now is at Hops Direct with Yakima Valley Hops and Hop Alliance coming as close seconds.

Read on to find the cheapest place to buy hops online, which hops are the most versatile, and tips for buying hops at a cheaper price than normal.

Where is the cheapest place to buy hops online?

The cheapest places to buy hops online depends on a few things:

  • affordability
  • quality
  • harvest year
  • price

The prices of hops can vary regarding the form of the hop, the variety, the harvest year, and the amount you buy at once.

The cheapest way to buy hops is by buying hop pellets in bulk. Hop pellets are not too different from the whole leaf, they last longer, and they’re cheaper. Some wholesalers offer major sales on hop pellets from previous years if you’re willing to sacrifice a small amount of quality for price.

The best options for buying cheap hops online are:

  • Hops Direct
  • Yakima Valley Hops
  • Hop Alliance

Hops Direct offers the cheapest of hops when bought in bulk. To show this and to show other options as well, this table contains data from each website regarding the price of each variety mentioned earlier.

Hops DirectHop AllianceYakima Valley Hops
Centennial$89.00N/A$74.95
Cascade$36.10$37.45$64.95
Columbus$27.80$39.95N/A
CitraN/A$76.20$114.95
Average hop prices for 5lbs of pellets

*Prices are for 5lbs. of hop pellets, shipping not included

After Hops Direct, the two next-best places to buy cheap and affordable hop varieties are Yakima Valley Hops and Hop Alliance.

Each of these places offer common hops and even some rare strains, all at a fair price.

Hops Direct

Hops Direct is located in Mabton, Washington. This business is family-owned and operated with a clear passion for growing and selling hops. The family grows its own hops at Puterbaugh farms. The family planted its feet in North America after fleeing religious persecution in 1902 and have since become one the largest and most trusted hop distributors in the United States.

Hops Direct ships straight from its farms, directly to its customers. The company currently has around 20 different hop strains with tons of variety at some of the most affordable prices in the country.

For example, Hops Direct did not have a unit rate for Citra hops at this time, but by looking at rates for other hops, it can be assumed that their price for Citra hops — one of the most sought after hops at this time — is the best around. This gives it a huge edge on competitors and is a large reason it’s at the number one spot.

You can find more information by searching Hops Direct on all social platforms.

Hop Alliance

Located in Livonia, Michigan, Hop Alliance was formed in 2005 and has grown to become one of the largest independent hop suppliers in the Midwest.

Hop Appliance, also known as Michigan Hop Alliance, sources its hops from all over the country and boasts fair prices and reliable service. It has built lasting partnerships with other growers, brewers, and businesses while adhering to strong fundamental values. The company ships its hops straight out of Livonia.

Hop Alliance is the next cheapest place to buy hops from. In general, the prices are a little higher than Hops Direct. As with other sellers, Hop Alliance sometimes does not have particular varieties in stock, and you may have to order elsewhere and spend a little more money or sacrifice a little bit of quality.

Either way, Hop Alliance takes the second spot on this list for still providing quality hops at affordable prices. Still consistent through Hop Alliance is the price of whole hop leafs compared to pellets: the pellets are cheaper.

Yakima Valley Hops

Yakima Valley Hops sources hops right from the Yakima Valley and other “premium growing regions around the world.” What started as a couple of college kids selling hops out of a garage has turned into another Yakima Valley hop giant, despite having a comparatively smaller amount of employees (25).

Yakima Valley Hops gave homebrewers and commercial brewers an opportunity to purchase high-quality, direct-to-consumer hops at an extremely affordable price. It also has highly sought-after hops like Incognito, Lupomax, and Flex.

Yakima Valley Hops is far from being the most expensive seller in general, but it is the most expensive out of these three choices.

Still affordable, this seller provides quality hops with no middle man.

Can you get hops cheaper at local homebrew stores?

It can be difficult to find hops cheaper at local homebrew stores.

For some, they don’t even have the option of shopping locally. Typically, the reason for this difficulty is because those homebrew stores will buy in bulk at a tad-cheaper price than what they sell to everyday buyers. The difference in the profit might be minuscule though, and this can result in a buyer spending only an extra dollar or even a few cents compared to buying online through a bigger seller.

In this case, it can be cheaper and more convenient to buy from a local homebrew store.

Which hops offer the best value and versatility?

The most versatile and flexible hop varieties are:

  • Cascade
  • Columbus
  • Nugget
  • Zeus

Cascade

Cascade hops have long reigned as one of the most popular hops. They are extremely versatile: they can be used for bittering, flavor, or aroma. With an alpha-acid level ranging from about 4-9%, they can be used at almost any point in the brewing process.

Cascade hops are extremely inexpensive for the quality and versatility they provide. They can be found online for as cheap as $12.99/16oz.

Columbus

Columbus hops are another extremely popular hop used in homebrewing today. With an alpha-acid of 14-18%, this hop is great for bittering and also has pleasant and strong enough aromas to be included as a late addition.

The price of this hop is perfect for what it’s worth, at around $16/lb.

Nugget

Nugget hops provide a distinct, herbal aroma when added late and have strong bittering properties at 9-14% alpha-acid composition. This hop is prized amongst brewers for being so versatile.

Nugget hops’ versatility comes at a cheaper price compared to some. At $11/lb., this hop is affordable and offers so much depth to your homebrewing experience and recipes.

Zeus

Zeus is most often used for bittering, but it can also be used for flavoring and aroma. The dual-purpose, 13-17% alpha-acid composition hop can be added at any point in your brew. It has potent bittering qualities but will give your beer an herbally, citrus aroma when added late.

Zeus hops are another cheap and versatile hop found online for about $10/lb. 

Tips for buying hops at a cheaper price

There are a few surefire ways for buying hops at a cheaper price.

The best ways to get cheaper deals on hops are:

  • Buy in bulk
  • Buy with other homebrewers
  • Sign up for newsletters
  • Buy last year’s harvest
  • Research hop alternatives

Buy your hops or hop pellets in bulk

Buying your hops in bulk is going to be the quickest and easiest way to make your purchases cheaper.

Every wholesaler will offer a lower price if you buy hops by the pound or two. This will give you more hops to use to make more beer and experiment with the amount and timing. This also leads me to my next point.

Buy hops with other homebrewers

The internet is powerful and can be used to your advantage here.

There are hundreds of forums that house discussion for this type of stuff and can lead you to a select few of homebrewers that might be willing to split the cost of a hefty bulk order. This ensures you all get an affordable, discounted price.

Sign up for newsletters

Some sellers offer discounts if you do so much as sign up for their newsletters.

They offer exclusive deals on popular and more expensive hops, letting their loyal customers get first (or only) dibs.

Buy last year’s harvest

Buying last year’s harvest is going to get you the cheapest price on hops.

There are risks in doing this, though. If the hops aren’t properly packaged from years prior, the quality could plummet. However, this is almost never the case, as sellers typically ensure last year’s harvest is stored well in a vacuum-sealed container.

The discounts on the previous year’s harvests can reach close to 50% off.

Research hop alternatives

The most popular hops in brewing are inherently the most expensive.

Do your research and find hop alternatives for these more expensive hops. The alternatives are often just as good as the original hop and can be found for more than half the price. In doing this research, you’ll probably discover more varieties and methods to homebrewing that will benefit you, too. It’s a win-win.