Things Beer Geeks Like

Hops

C’mon, you didn’t see this one coming?

To hear a beer geek tell it you wouldn’t think there were any other ingredients that contributed to a beers flavor other then hops. Nevermind that alot of European beers get their flavor from the yeast used. Nevermind that for a long time traditional beers used other herbs instead of hops. If it’s made for beer geeks, especially in this region, it will be over hopped. Whether they call themselves hop heads or conesuers they all seem to have a Passion for a flower that resembles a green pine cone.

Hops are a flower from a female vine from the Cannabaceae family, the same family as Marijuana. Hops are the primary bittering agent in beer, and can contribute to the flavor and aroma as well. For a long time American beer drinkers were hop deprived. The primary beers drunk on this continent contained little in the way of bitterness, or hop flavors. The craft beer scene has changed that and now beer geeks have become hop gluttons. This is part of what beer geeks feel separates them from the beer drinking masses, the love of the hop.

Beer geeks aren’t content to quietly enjoy the flower they idolise. They have created festivals to celebrate not only beers that are just souped up hop delivery devices, but also to celebrate the hop in all it’s incarnations. In Oregon alone we have hop festivals for all the cities that are major hop growers. We have festivals to celebrate fresh or wet hops. We also have an IPA festival as well. All of these dedicated to consuming mass amounts overhopped beverages.

Another thing beer geeks enjoy about hops is the smell. If you give a beer geek a hop chances are he will pulverise it by rubbing it between his hands and then sit there sniffing the thing like it’s a drug. They even have people take pictures of them doing this to show off later. But as with any addiction soon the high from sniffing hop cones isn’t enough anymore. Beer geeks at this stage start going on tours of hop fields. Soon after many start growing the vine in their backyards. If the beer geek is edgy enough they will even get a tattoo of a hop cone or a vine in order to show their passion.

Sadly for hop heads the tides seem to be changing for over hopped beers. Still though beer geeks will continue to celebrate this flower.

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2 Responses to “Things Beer Geeks Like”

  1. jrbox says:

    Entertaining blog.

    I am not a hop head. I prefer pilsner / pilsener.

    Nevertheless, I enjoy the over hopped 2X IPA , I have rubbed hops between my hands and sniffed, I look forward to fresh hop beers, and I plan to grow hops next Spring.

    Hops are pretty cool. A cool herb.

    In ‘Botany of Desire’ Michael Pollan reports on how cleaver rogue gardeners, in response to DEA / War on Drugs pressures, developed dwarf, resin rich female marijuana [Cannabis sativa] plants.

    Seems a similar transformation is appropriate for hops [Cannabis lupulus].

  2. Ryan Hirscht says:

    It’s not just beer geeks who do the cone rubbing/smell thing: I worked on a hop farm two summers ago and that’s just what the hop farmers do as well. If one knows what they’re smelling for it’s a pretty effective method. Even if you don’t really know and just like the smell of hops, the worst thing you’re doing is getting hop resins all over your skin.

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