German culture is rich in traditions that date back many centuries. One of those is the annual festival celebrating the end of the hard labor to bring in the crops and the successful harvest. These days, the focus is less on the harvest but rather on fun activities for people of all ages. A typical festival includes Oktoberfest-style rides, lots of food and of course plenty of beer.
Hallertau, the largest hops growing area in the world, has something else to offer that is worth a visit. During the annual hops harvest festival in Wolnzach, a hops queen is crowned. For one year, she will be a goodwill ambassador for Hallertau and hops. The hops queen will receive a real crown that is handed to her from her predecessor. The new queen will represent the region, the hops farmers and their products not only in Germany, but all around the world.
In order to become a hop queen, the contestants need to come from one of the hop farms in the region and they have to be able to answer all the hop related questions of an expert panel and about 3000 spectators. It is not uncommon for an aspiring hop queen to be asked to identify a hops variety just by smelling a cone.
Finally, all attendants at the crowning event are able to cast their vote for one of the candidates, who are always not only beautiful but knowledgeable about hops. For one year, the new queen will become the ambassador of premium hops and represent the region in more than 170 events.
One of her tasks is to promote Hallertau and the other German hops growing areas, Tettnang, Spalt and Elbe Saale. German hops are protected by the EU and are products of origin. German hops are displaying the EU quality labels PDO (Protected Designation of Origin) respectively PGI (Protected Geographical Indication) and guarantee European high quality products.