Comet was selected in 1961 for its high alpha acid content and excellent bittering qualities. Released in 1974 by the USDA, it was grown commercially up until the early 1980's to fill the need for high alpha hops but was replaced by the newer super-alpha varieties and commercial production more or less disappeared.
Its "wild American" aroma characteristic comes from Comet's parentage cross of English Sunshine and a native American hop. That and its solid grapefruit and citrus aroma has created a new interest in this cultivar as a dual-purpose hop for craft brewers, some calling it "Citra's little sister".
Use in: American-style lagers or as a dry hop in ales and IPA's.
Diseases: Resistant to verticillium wilt but can be susceptible to downy mildew.