Are you ready to drink like an Egyptian?
You’ve probably heard of Egyptian tombs, where the deceased is buried with things they might need in the afterlife. What you’re probably not aware of however is that sometimes, beer made the list of afterlife necessities.
Deep in the tomb of the Pharoh Scorpion I, buried close to 3150 BCE, you’ll find jugs of sorghum beer. The tomb walls have an etching on them that translated into English reads, “Beer that doesn’t turn sour”.
Unfortunately for the Pharoh however, his beers likely turned sour by now. Without the addition of hops, beer has a very short shelf life.
What are hops, and how do they make beer better?
Read on to find out!
What Are Hops?
For starters, let’s look at what the 4 main ingredients of beer are. There’s water, malt, yeast, and of course hops.
When you’re drinking a beer, the flavor will change dramatically depending on how much of each ingredient the beer contains. For instance, to enjoy a drink with a strong aroma and robust flavor, you’d need a beer that contains a lot of malt in the recipe. However, if you’re looking for a beer that has flavor, aroma, and bitterness, you’ll need a “hoppy” beverage.
What are hops exactly? Hops are cones or flowers that come from the Humulus lupulus plant. The Humulus lupulus plant belongs to the cannabaceae family, the same plant family as marijuana and hemp. As a result, hop plants are some of the hardiest plants worldwide.
Flavor and Aroma Profiles
On top of giving beer it’s a famous bitter taste, what else can hops do? Working as a preservative, beers that contain hops have longer shelf lives than those that don’t.
Next, hops are also responsible for helping beer maintain a healthy head of foam. How do hops assist with foam stability? It all has to do with the bitter flavor hops provide.
Creating Beer Foam
One of the bitter substances in hops is isohumulones, and it’s a form of alpha acid. Alpha acids are hydrophobic, which means they’re great at repelling water. As a result, the hops can tightly hold the bubbles together, creating a great framework for the beer’s head formation.
Different Types of Beer Hops
Now that you know a little bit more about what hops are, let’s look at all of the different types!
Here’s a shortlist of brewing hops used especially for beer:
- Agnus hops
- Beata hops
- Apollo hops
- California cluster hops
- Bramling cross hops
Each hops provides it’s own unique aroma and flavor, creating a truly unique drinking experience.
Cascade and Centennial Hops
Cascade hops come from a mountain range in Oregon, and it’s a popular choice for Americans. Beers brewed with Cascade tend to have an intensely hoppy taste.
Another benefit of Cascade hops is the aroma experience they deliver. A beer made with Cascade hops will have a citrusy aroma, mixed with hints of floral and pine.
Next, Centennial hops are the big sister of Cascade hops. The alpha acid content in Centennial hops is almost double than of the alpha acid content found in the Cascades.
As a result, beers made with Centennial hops tend to be more bitter. The aroma will also be more intense, with strong scents of floral and lemon.
What Does Galaxy Hops Taste Like?
Finally, are you looking to try an exotic flavor? If yes, then try drinking a beer brewed with Galaxy hops.
Originating from Australia, Galaxy is usually added at the end of the brewing process to give the beer a boost in both aroma and flavor. Your tastebuds will get to enjoy light fruity flavors, like passion fruit, and tangerine.
Be Brave and Try New Flavors
If you have 1 type of beer as you go to the beverage, consider branching out. The wide variety of beer hops makes it possible to enjoy all sorts of aromas, flavors, and bitterness levels.
You can also help your friends and coworkers branch out to try new beer flavors. The next time you buy corporate gift baskets include beers made from less common hops. This way, you’ll be able to introduce your co-workers and supervisors to new beers they otherwise might not have tried!
Finding the Best IPA
Are you thinking about giving an IPA a try? IPAs are especially hoppy beers and they fall under the pale ale category.
Depending on the IPAs brewer, the beverage will have different amounts of malt, hops, and of course alcohol. Typically, IPAs also have higher alcohol content than other beers.
The best IPAs know how to maintain a perfect balance between the hops aroma and flavors. For instance, the hop to malt ratio has to be spot on for the beer to be enjoyable. Finally, the ingredients have to be fresh for an IPA to shine.
Can You Have Beer Without Hops?
After trying a few different beers with hops, you might be wondering, can you have beer without hops? The easy answer is yes!
While you should give hops a fair chance, we understand that hoppy beers aren’t for everyone. For instance, some people can’t drink hops because they’re allergic. Luckily, there are hops free beers out there, such as gruit.
What Is Gruit?
Gruit is a drink that dates back to Medieval times. Instead of using hops, brewers use a variety of bitter herbs to give the beer it’s aroma and flavor.
For instance, brewers would use bitter herbs like Marsh Rosemary, Bog Myrtle, and Yarrow. Since gruit doesn’t have any hops, it’ll have a shorter shelf life, so once you buy it, drink up!
Raise Your Glass
Now, the next time someone asks, “What are hops?”, you’ll already know the answer.
Which type of beer are you going to try first? Perhaps you’ll indulge in an exotic beer made with Galaxy hops? Or maybe you’ll turn to brewers who are using Centennial hops for an intense flavor experience?
We hope our article will inspire you to be brave, and try new beers! For more fun articles like this one, check out the rest of this site.