Most of you know hops as an essential part of the beer making process – the seasoning of the beer, if you will, that adds a bitter taste to beer. Hops have been cultivated for beer-making purposes for over 1000 years, originally out of Central Europe and eventually spreading to Western Europe and Great Britain. Today, there are over one hundred different types of hop varieties that each add different flavors and aromas to the beer.
Hops are actually the flowers on the hop plant called Humulus lupulus. The plant species even has separate gender plants, with only the female plants producing the cone like flowers that are the hops. These cones look similar to that of a pine cone, with light green leaves. At the base of the petals on the cones are the yellow lupulin glands that contain the resins such as the alpha acids and beta acids as well as the essential oils that go into the beer.
A fun fact about one of our favorite types of beers, The India Pale Ale, or I.P.A. as it is commonly referred to, was developed as a direct result of the use of hops to preserve beer. During their voyage from Britain to India in the 18th century, brewers began to add hops to the casks of beer in order to help keep them fresh along the way. By the time they reached the Indian shore, the beer had really incorporated the flavor and aroma of the hops.
We take our appreciation of hops to another level at 1702, with our Hop Bread – fresh leaf hops delicately dispersed over strips of Cheezie Bread, served with a side of marinara. Caution, this is like eating an I.P.A. Come in and enjoy an ice cold craft beer with your Hop Bread!