Why Hops are Used in Making Craft Beer: A Brief History and Explanation

If you've ever had a craft beer, LOL, and I know you have... you may have noticed that it has a distinctive and complex flavour. One of the key ingredients responsible for this unique taste is hops. In this post, we'll explore the history of hops in brewing and why they're an essential ingredient in making craft beer.

The History of Hops in Brewing

Hops have been used in brewing beer for centuries. The earliest evidence of their use dates back to the ninth century, when German monks first began using them to flavour and preserve their beer. Hops quickly became a popular ingredient in brewing, thanks to their unique properties.

Hops contain alpha acids, which are responsible for the bitterness in beer. They also have essential oils that provide flavour and aroma. In addition, hops have natural antibacterial properties that help to prevent spoilage and extend the shelf life of beer.

As the brewing industry evolved, hops became an increasingly important ingredient. In the 16th century, brewers in England began using hops to make a new type of beer called "ale," which was lighter and less bitter than traditional beers. This new style of beer quickly became popular, and by the 18th century, hops had become the standard ingredient in brewing.

Why Hops are Used in Making Craft Beer

Craft brewers use hops for many of the same reasons as traditional brewers, but they also use them for their unique flavour and aroma. Craft beers often feature a wide range of hop varieties, each with their own distinct characteristics.

Some hops provide a floral, spicy, or citrusy flavour, while others have a more earthy or piney taste. Craft brewers often experiment with different hop varieties and combinations to create unique and complex flavours in their beers.

In addition to their flavour, hops are also used to balance the sweetness of the malt in beer. The bitterness from the alpha acids in hops can help to counteract the sweetness of the malt, creating a more balanced and drinkable beer.

Finally, hops are an important ingredient in the brewing process because they help to clarify the beer and create a stable foam. The proteins in hops help to bind with other proteins in the beer, creating a clear and stable liquid. This is important for both the appearance and taste of the final product.

Hops are an essential ingredient in brewing, and they play a critical role in the flavour, aroma, and appearance of craft beer. Craft brewers use a wide range of hop varieties to create unique and complex flavours in their beers, and they rely on the natural antibacterial properties of hops to preserve their product.

As craft beer continues to grow in popularity, hops will undoubtedly remain an important ingredient in the brewing process. Whether you're a fan of IPAs or stouts, there's no denying the important role that hops play in creating the distinctive taste of our delicious Schooner Street Brewery craft beer...