Homebrew – Why We Grow HopsBy
Homebrew– that’s what we do with our hops. Hops can be used for other purposes as well, such as
herbal treatments, hop pillows, hop tea, hop bine wreaths, privacy fences, cover for arbors, pergolas, gazebos… Hops as an herbal ingredient has relaxing qualities that can be combined with other relaxing herbs to create stress reducing teas and supplements and sleep aids. In this high stress world, who couldn’t use a little help relaxing, de-stressing and sleeping?
Stress Reducing Herbs
- Kava Kava
- St. Johns Wort
- Red Clover
- California Poppy
- Many More herbs
Back to homebrewing and the major focus of this blog, growing hops. Hops counteract the sweetness of malts (sugars) used in the making of beers and ales. That is the bitterness factor of hops. They also add aroma, clarity, head retention, anti microbial and natural preservative properties. As you can see, hops are very important to beer/ale making. Hops are one of the 4 must have ingredients of beer – hops, malt, water and yeast. German beer law – Reinheitsgebot, also known as the beer purity law or purity order, demands only water malt and hops – yeast was acquired naturally from the air or added as a sample of wort from a previous batch of beer or ale.
Variations of the amounts and types of malts, hops and yeast (and sometimes, other adjuncts), create the almost limitless styles, flavors and aromas of ales and beers. The possibilities are almost endless when it comes to making your own beers and ales. Unless you have your hops analyzed for bitterness (alpha and beta acids), you never know for sure how they will turn out. Variations in weather and nutrients can alter these properties year to year. To me, that is a good thing, something new and different each year. Like fine wine, some years will be better than others.
We grow hops to further our experience into home brewing. Saving money on growing our own hops, avoiding shortages, sharing hops with homebrewing friends are some of the benefits. As an avid gardener, I simply enjoy growing them and watching their daily growth – up to a foot a day! Hops are easy to grow. All they require is direct sunlight, water and fertile soil and something to climb (rope or twine is best). Hops are inexpensive to grow on a small scale and once established, come up every year for up to 50 years of producing hop cones!
If you make your own beer or ales or are considering it, grow some hops. Depending upon the styles of ales or beers you want to make, determines what type of hops you should grow. Basically, you want at least one bittering hop and one aroma type hop – more hop varieties are better. A basic instruction on growing hops can be found here ==> growing hops . That is why we grow beer hops – to homebrew.