If we're talking US cultivars then I'd recommend Crytsal or Ultra, but Mt. Hood does have a huge brewery following for this purpose. I'm also a fan of Liberty, but it can sometimes be too spicy for late additions.
I'd keep it on the warmer side of the recommended yeast range until you get a good krausen then it's OK to turn down the thermostat. The "rule of thumb" is no more than 3° a day. Maybe play it some metal music?
I typically use a blend of RO, filtered and/or spring water for water profiling and a little Epsom salt really helps + the beasties do love it. Our beer camp adventure really reinforced the importance of trace minerals & quality wasser.