Hops, Hops Everywhere
May 16, 2014
Craft Beer - each glass embodies its makers' creativity and passion while integrating powerful scientific ingredients. Who knew that the chemistry nerd in your ninth grade science class would soon be the craft beer nerd on the forefront of beer technology? Give him a call and see what his latest and greatest beer is.
While you dig for his number, let's talk about hops, glorious hops. Currently, there are about 200 varieties of hops available to commercial brewers. But wait, it is estimated that another 100 varieties are in the testing phase and 5-10 of those will come to market in the next 12 months. Whoa! Your chemist nerd is about to go crazy reinventing craft beer notes and flavors. Hops are ever-changing, being tested for mildew resistance, for stamina as it grows, then finally for taste. The process is long and grueling as many are in the testing phase for 5-8 years. When they go commercial, brew masters are finally able to incorporate the hop into their product line and offer to the public (yes!).
Now, on to the fun part. Flavors. Hops offer bold beautiful flavors such as earthy (Saaz), hay/grass (Hallertau), resinous (Columbus), Sauvignon Blanc (Nelson Sauvin), lemon (Centennial), lemongrass (Sorachi Ace), orange/tangerine (Cascade), grapefruit (Chinook), mango (Citra®), raspberry/blueberry (Mosaic), woody/mint (Northern Brewer), and pine/catty (Simco®). Yummy...
-More than 2,400 craft breweries utilize the above flavors in brewing your favorite beer. The average person lives within ten minutes from a brewery!
-Hops are one of the most labor intensive crops in the world. Bines (not vines) are handstrung, and it's estimated that 1,500 strings are in one acre.
-There is an estimated 4,800 hop farmers worldwide, with less than 100 in America. But the American hop farmers supply more than 30% of the world's hops!
-Hops used in beer are the plants' flowers and come only from the female plant.
-At harvest, it's estimated that every acre of hops may have been touched by human hands more than 7,000 times.
Thanks to Craft Beer and the Brewers Association for the above stats.
In the end, hops are not going anywhere (yahoo!) and the craft beer market is growing by leaps and bounds each year (due to your chemist friend). Come on in to Bluegrass and take home a craft beer! Our staff will be happy to help you select the perfect brew to suit your taste buds.