09/27/2011 11:37 am ET Updated Nov 27, 2011

4 Hops You Should Get To Know

The formula for beer is relatively simple: Water, starch, yeast and hops, the flowering cone-shaped plant that gives beer its sharp, bitter bite. Many brewers swear by the four varieties of "noble hops," with mellower, sweeter flavors. But if you love that tongue-curling bitterness that we firmly believe denotes a great IPA, these four less-than-noble hops are king.

Unsurprisingly, the region eventually known as Germany lays claim to the origin of hops in beermaking, around the year 700. Take it from the nation that (much) later instated Reinheitsgebot to know what it takes to make a lasting formula for one of humanity's favorite drinks. But they didn't know about Citra, Simcoe, Centennial and Nelson-Sauvin, varieties that make today's craft beer so delicious.

Cast aside your beer goggles and take a clearer look at a wealth of beers with uniquely-flavored hops worth getting to know. Bonus points if you marinate a steak in 'em.