All I hear these days is ‘hops, hops, hops’! What are hops?
Good question. In Australia (at least) you can largely thank the craft beer scene for bringing hops to our attention. Before that most Australian brewers used just one type of hop called ‘pride of ringwood’ which was bred by CUB in the 1950s – think Foster’s lager. Now there are more hop types available to a brewer than they can poke an … empty schooner at – too forced? yep.
Hops are the female flower (of a hop vine) which secrete an acid called lupulin (photos below). It is this acid that is prized as it helps with the beer’s head, gives it the bitterness that we all love, act as a natural preservative and give it both flavour and aroma. Hops are closely related to marijuana and only grow in latitudes between 35 to 55 degrees north and south – they do grow in Canberra.
I’ll soon be harvesting our home grown hops (all American cascade) so stay tuned for more beer school and more beer drinking soon.