Springtime is here, and with it comes the long-awaited season for fresh, fruity beers. It's important to note that beers and weather are deeply connected. In fact, each season has its own recommended brew or, at the very least, this is often the rule (although rules are meant to be broken 😉).
However, before you start experimenting with alternative brews, it's good to know the basics. And since we're talking about the season of flowers, it's worth discussing our favorite one: hops. You've probably heard this word before, or perhaps some variations of it, like "hoppy" or "hoppiness." In any case, you might be questioning yourself now, having Googled it without fully understanding what Wikipedia was saying, and then ended up here.
Lucky one! 😌
Let me make it easy for you.
Humulus Lupulus AKA hops, brewers favourite plant. Like yeast, the usage of hops dates back more than a thousand years. Back in those days, beers were made with various herbal ingredients, and only after several years of experimentation did they discover that hops were the right choice for one specific reason that you would probably never guess.
Many of you would say "the aroma," and you're partially right. Hops were primarily used as a stability agent to make the beer enjoyable and, most importantly, drinkable. This superpower is what made hops such a popular flower, in addition to the multiple lovely tastes they release, which we all agree is the most fascinating side of it. That's why our Stereo Mono serie is dedicated to different hops and their characteristics.
There are many hop varieties out there, coming from Germany, the Czech Republic, New Zealand, North and South America, Australia, United Kingdom (and many other places). Aromas and flavours are defined by different elements, including the soil on which the plant grows, the latitude and many other climate factors. Over several years, brewers have categorised them all: fruity, tropical, resinous, woody, floral, and many more. Each hop has its own story.
Hops are found in all beers, but some have more than others. For instance, the popular IPA (India Pale Ale) has its own variants when it comes to the hops and malt profile. The number of hops and malts can transform it into a double, triple, or quadruple IPA, or even a Micro IPA! Usually, the greater the quantities of both, the higher the ABV.
The variety, flexibility, and usefulness of hops are formidable, and they have revolutionised the craft beer scene, leading to many different experiments in recent years that have intrigued both experts and newbies alike. Now that you know all this, do you think hoppy beers are for you?