Hops are actually the female flower of the hop plant, Humulus Lupulus. Hops are mainly used to stabalize beers, which is what also adds the bitter or “tangy” flavor to certain ales. Before the addition of hops, brewers used certain bitter flowers and herbs such as dandelions, marigold, ground ivy and burdock root to add to the bitterness of beers. When it was discovered that hops had certain antibacterial aspects to counterbalance the brewers yeast, using hops became much more popular in the brewing process. Another benefit of hops is that the bitterness balances the sweetness of the malts, adding the complex flavors and aromas you see in craft beers today. There are endless numbers of hop strains currently being used, with some of the most popular ones being Amarillo, Cascade, Centennial, Chinook, Liberty, Noble, Pacific jade and Simcoe. Hops not only add bitterness to beers, but the piney, floral, fruity and citrus nodes you get from beers generally come from the style of hops used. So….EMBRACE THE HOPS!!! Try more than a sip, get past the bitterness on the front side of tasting beer and discover some of the more amazing flavors American craft beers, especially IPAs, have to offer. Cheers!!!
This article was written by Guizmo