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What Is A Hop?

What is a Hop?

“Hop” is a term that’s thrown around fairly frequently in the world of beer, being one of the primary ingredients in brewing. But there’s a distinct difference between understanding what hops are, their effect on flavour, and the various types used; they’re three hop topics.

Hops are the flowers of the hop plant Humulus lupulus. Interestingly, part of the cannabis family however they don’t hold any THC. In beer, hops provide the bitterness which counterbalances against the sweetness of malt. Essential oils and resin are produced inside the hop cone; that’s where the flavour, aroma and bitterness of beer stems from.

Time is not on beers side; the ingredients are sensitive. Hop flavours degrade with time, storage and temperature fluctuation which affects taste. Fresh Beer is delivered straight from the Pinter to the glass, keeping flavours locked in as it was meant to be.

The relationship between hops and beer is constantly evolving. Even in the last six years or so we’ve seen the appetite for juicy, hazy, and higher ABV beers explode within the craft market. Brewers have had to adapt rapidly to meet the boom in demand for such types of beer, particularly in sourcing the right types of hops, from the right place; region plays a vital role in variation of flavour.

Historical Hops

Incredibly, hops have been referenced in history as early as the first century AD; believed to have originated in Egypt, they were then known then as a “salad plant”. Before being introduced to the mighty hop, the most common style of beer in England was unhopped ale; often flavoured with wormwood, which some alcoholic drinks still use as a flavouring today.

Reluctantly accepted in England at first, few people had high hop(e)s when hops were brought over from Flanders in the 15th century. But by the 17th century, the heroic hop had grown on people so much that unhopped beers had become a rarity.

Hop Pairings

What you pair with your Fresh Beer depends on the drink, but here are some quick tips from our Innovation Brewing team to get you started.

It’s a Match

Delicate beers are best with lighter food flavours, such as salads or fresh pasta. Likewise, a full-flavoured beer will go best with robust tastes, making the perfect accompaniment to a rich winter stew.

Bittersweet Symphony

Hops bring bitterness which emphasises spicy flavours in food; so if you can’t handle the heat, it’s probably best you back away from the beers. You won’t find the soothing sensation you were hoping for. A bitter style is better suited to spice, pairing perfectly with a hot curry or spicy beef tacos.

Aromas Got a Hold On Me

Striking aromas and aromatic flavours make for a tasty power couple. Bold styles of beer stand up well against bold food ingredients; match them with feisty flavours in dishes such as Pad Thai and dhal, or switch it up and go for exotic fruit.

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