As one of beer’s four main ingredients, which also includes grain, yeast, and water, hops play a hugely important role in crafting beer and here MORE hop factoids (both smart and stupid) guaranteed to make you a barroom genius.
Hops have been referred to as the ‘spice of beer’. (Spice is also the drug that powers Frank Herbert’s legendary Dune Science Fiction series). And there’s also Posh Spice…
Hops are believed to have been used as a beer-making ingredient for close to 1,000 years. They temper a beer’s flavor and aroma and also acts as a natural preservative (to the beer and not you).
Hops aren’t actually climbing vines, technically they’re ‘climbing bines’ and you can learn how they differ HERE. And reports that hops served as the original inspiration for Day of the Triffids remain unconfirmed.
Hops are closely related to cannabis. They come from the same hemp family Cannabaceae, but much to the dismay of many pot enthusiasts, they don’t offer the same buzz that marijuana does.
The hop plant has two sexes. There are both male and female plants. It’s the cones on the female plant that are used in the brewing process. Male hops are primarily ‘studs’ that are used for the breeding process (and maybe taking out the garbage).
Hop cones are sacred ‘resin vestibules’ that contain alpha acids, beta acids and essential oils. The alpha acid serves as beer’s key, while the oils impart some flavor and can add to aroma.
Aroma hops are just that – they contain the basic oils that are more generally associated with great aroma.
There are also dual-purpose hops that that both bitter and beef up aroma – These kinds of hops becoming increasingly popular with craft brewers and conveniently fit in with the trans-gender movement.
Brewers use hops in a variety of forms, depending on what they need. Hops can be pelletized, liquid, dried, or wet hops. What they shouldn’t be, is snorted.
Hopheads are a very real danger. Their numbers are growing at alarming rates and their toll on society incalculable. Many hopheads vehemently deny that they’ve succumbed to this unfortunate malady, but they seldom stray far from IPAs and would never be seen ordering a Märzen. They also reference a beer’s IBU’s a lot.