This week BrewDad peeps we are going to learn about Hops (Humulus lupulus).  The history and the origins.  Each week following a new variety and the beers that are so tasty.

Grab your favorite beer and here we go.  

Fresh HopsHops are the female flowers (also called seed cones or strobiles) of a hop species, Humulus lupulus.  They are used primarily as a flavoring and stability agent in beer, to which they impart a bitter, tangy flavor, though hops are also used for various purposes in other beverages and herbal medicine. In the Middle Ages beers tended to be of a very low alcohol content and were commonly consumed as a safer alternative to untreated water. Each village tended to have one or more small breweries with a barley field and a hop garden in close vicinity. Early documents include mention of a hop garden in the will of Charlemagne’s father, Pepin III. However, the first documented use of hops in beer as a flavoring agent is from the 11th century. Before this period, brewers used a wide variety of bitter herbs and flowers, including dandelion, burdock root, marigold, horehound (the German name for horehound means “mountain hops”), ground ivy, and heather.  Hops are used extensively in brewing for their antibacterial effect that flavors the activity of brewer’s yeast over less desirable microorganisms and for many purported benefits, including balancing the sweetness of the malt with bitterness, contributing a variety of desirable flavors and aromas. Historically, traditional herb combinations for ales were believed to have been abandoned when ales made with hops were noticed to be less prone to spoilage.

The hop plant is a vigorous, climbing, herbaceous perennial, usually trained to grow up strings in a field called a hopfield, hop garden (nomenclature in the South of England), or hop yard (in “The West country” and U.S.A.) when grown commercially. Many different varieties of hops are grown by farmers around the world, with different types being used for particular styles (categories) of beer.

Do you know how many hops varieties there are? I have heard over 80 but I think with more research we will find more.
Have a great a day and next week we will learn about the famous Hallertau Hop.


Leave a Reply