Hops A-Z; Postscript

I've spent a fair chunk of time over the last month reading about hops. There have been frustrations and revelations. And it's left me with six impressions;

1) A little bit of biochemistry goes a long way; my understanding of how hops impart flavour and aroma has been enhanced a great deal by brushing up on my long-lost chemistry knowledge.

2) There's often a great life-in-hops story to be told. Particularly for those research pioneers at Wye College; Salmon, Neve and Darby.

3) Hops have a genuine sense of terroir. That's something to be treasured - and marketed vigorously.

4) Hops have a rich and varied history; here's hoping that, due to progressive research and integrated production/supply chains, they also have a sustainable future

5) The internet is cluttered with crap about hops. You may argue that I've just added to it. I'm hoping that I've introduced some reasoned clarity for those who are looking for substance beyond the haze.

6) I'm mad keen to learn more. The brewers that know me are going to get bored rigid by my technical questions next time we meet. I'm even hunting down technical papers and looking into taught courses to expand my knowledge. Humulus lupulus is getting under my skin...

One last thing for now; if you're interested in finding out more about hops, these are good places to start:

The Barth-Haas Group, the world’s largest supplier of hop products and services, have a wealth of information on their website, including the comprehensive annual Hop Report.

Ian Hornsey's book, A History of Beer and Brewing, has loads of interesting hop history; there's a limited preview available on Google Books

Similarly, the Handbook of Brewing by Priest and Stuart has useful chapters on hop usage and is also available as a Google Book.

The Home Brewing Wiki has a concise overview of hop chemistry that I've found invaluable

Several steps advanced from that is this paper on the fundamentals of beer and hop chemistry that's well worth getting your noggin around.

There's heaps of info about the world hop market; some of the most useful websites I've found are those of USA Hops , the German Hop Processing Collective and Hop Growers Association and the Czech Hop Growers Union. The New Zealand goverment has an excellent overview of their hop industry on the MAF website.

Two sites are worthy of special mention. English hop merchants Charles Faram has long been my handy reference guide to all things hoppy. And if I'm ever in doubt about an beer 'fact', I check with the site that clears out the t'internet trub; Martyn Cornell's Zythophile.