There are few people who, while holding a craft beer in their hands, wonder about its chemical content and the ingredients used to make the beverage. This is because the taste of craft beer is very distinct from industrial beers. Master brewers know that hops play a key role in achieving the flavor they desire for their craft beers.
Hops: Flavor, Aroma, and Bitterness
The scientific name for hops is Humulus lupulus, and it belongs to the Cannabis family. What is truly interesting and beneficial for brewers are the flowers of the hop plant. Hops provide craft beers with a bitter taste that contrasts with the sweetness of maltose. Furthermore, the distinct flavor of craft beer would not be possible without the use of this particular plant. Lastly, hops contribute to the aroma, which consumers are paying increasingly more attention to. No beer tasting experience is complete without perceiving the unique aroma of each craft beer.
Curiosities about Hops
Hops have generated significant interest throughout history. Here are some of the most surprising facts:
Up until the 9th century, hops were not cultivated in central Europe and had to be collected from the wild.
In the past, hops were used as a medicinal plant to alleviate ailments such as headaches and insomnia. The soothing effects of artisan beer can be attributed, in part, to hops.
There are at least 6 museums worldwide dedicated to this valuable plant.
Thanks to the invention of the gas chromatograph, it has been discovered that hops contain over 400 components.
In countries like Germany, hops hold such importance that they are often given a central role in local festivals. For example, in Hallertau (Bavaria), “The Queen of the Hop” is chosen during the month of August.
In summary, hops are crucial for the development of craft beers. Master brewers even obtain licenses to experiment with hops from different countries in order to create various types of craft beers.