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Brewing Hops

Hops have been cultivated around the world for many centuries. The earliest known sources of hop plants were in 736 in the region of Hallertau, Germany. However, the plants were merely discovered at that time. They were not used in the common sense of brewing hops that we know today. In fact, it wasn’t until the 1200s that the Germans replaced their usual gruit flavoring method with hops in the production of beverages for flavoring. Gruit is an odd herb mixture that was used primarily before the common use of hops in order to bitter the flavoring of a beer. A few hundred years later, the British started employing hops for the same reason. The plant was initially meet with open hostility as was viewed as pernicious to the imbiber. However, consumption continued and it has been used in Beer since. The United States saw their first colony grown in 1629. In the modern age, hops is grown and harvested primarily for beer production with little other uses.

Brewing hops are grown in a variety of ways, one of which will be investigated here. The most common form of growing hops is through hop bines. The hop bine method sets up a heavy string structure in the form of a grid several feet above the ground. The structure then has more industrial grade string or rope that goes into the ground and anchored there. The hop plants grow up around the string, spiraling around it in order to get some structure and a pattern for growth. The success of this growth pattern is widely known and it is for two reasons that it is practiced.

 The production of brewing hops is both growth motivated and structured around other vegetable growth patterns. The most similar analogous use of a string structure is in the growth of peas. Peas also use this in order to give them vertical mobility for more sunlight exposure, creating a greater surface area for photosynthesis, and thus causing the plant to grow more. It is for the same reasons that this type of growth is used in the production of brewing hops. The second reason stems from a similar biological background. The use of this program is also found in the cell structure of the plant. When the plant is allowed to growth vertically along a wire, spinning around it, it has to focus less time on cell wall growth that enables it to grow an equivalent height in a free standing scenario. By utilizing a cheap structure, hops plants are able to create a larger surface area and focus more of the energy gathered from that surface area in photosynthesis in the vertical growth area and less on the physical structure of the cell walls in each of the plants.

Typically, the hops plant is comprised of vines of which there are leaves which have 3 to five lobes. The flowers on this plant are the actual hops you would mentally picture and they pistillate into a cone shaped structure which is then harvested late in the autumn months. In the late autumn months, brewing hops is usually harvested. In London, poor working-class families looked forward to these months as form of vacation to go work in the beautiful English countryside. They entertained this work type because by and large, the countryside did not have the soot and grime of the recently industrialized London metropolis. Therefore in demographic terms, an interesting seasonal migration took place from urban to rural that defied the conventional migratory patterns found in the industrializing world. Brewing hops were instrumental in assisting in normalizing the harsh respiratory problems of the working class poor in the metropolitan England because it enabled them to seek normalized air outside of the common soot infested Mecca of industrialization that the England in the post-renaissance colonial age.

As shown brewing hops have an interesting historical background that enables them to claim certain impacts on the consumption of beer. It was also have a growing method that is analogous to the growth of peas. Finally, hops were also instrumental in the metropolitan poor of England receiving fresh air in colonial times.

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