For a young hop, Summit is an unique and fascinating variety. First released commercially in 2003, Summit was developed in Washington's Yakima Valley and is the decedent of an openly pollinated Nugget hop plant that was then cross-bred with Zeus and other citrusy hop varieties. One of the few dwarf hops commercially available, Summit is typically grown on low trellises and must be picked by hand. The hop has an extremely high alpha acid content, ranging from 16.0% up to 19.5%, which makes it an excellent bittering hop.
Summit hops were originally intended for use by large capacity brewers as a money-saver. Because the hop is so bitter, it can be used in smaller quantities and money can be saved on storage. Supplies of Summit are more stable than most hops because brewers need less, due to the extreme bitterness. Supply is also helped by Summit's mold and fungus resistance.
But Summit is not a one-trick pony. It's highly valued for its unique citrusy flavors that call to mind orange zest and grapefruit. The hop, which pairs well with herbal hops, also can have garlic and onion aromas when used late in the boil. Summit is primarily used in IPAs and Pale Ales, but it also appears in stouts.