“The man in the public bar never quite connects with the idea that beer is made from barley malt,” wrote the late Michael ‘Beer Hunter’ Jackson. “He thinks it is produced from hops. A sophisticate like yourself is aware that the magic cone is used only as a seasoning.”
Maine’s superlative Allagash Brewing Company takes it a step further.
Hops are the flowers, or cones, of a plant called Humulus lupulus. Hops help to keep beer fresher, longer; help beer retain its head of foam—a key component of a beer’s aroma and flavor; and, of course, add “hoppy” aroma, flavor, and bitterness.
Stan Hieronymus is a journalist, beer writer, homebrewer and author of the book For the Love of Hops: The Practical Guide to Aroma, Bitterness and the Culture of Hops. The book is a recommended place to begin if you’re contemplating a deep dive into hops as we’ve come to know them in the contemporary craft beer era.
Last week Stan added a fun list to a post at his web site. The American Society of Brewing Chemists Sensory Subcommittee compiled 107 unique terms to describe hop aromas and flavors, as reprinted here.
Fruity – Citrus
Grapefruit, Orange, Lemon, Lime, Tangerine, Mandarin
Fruity – Tropical
Mango, Pineapple, Papaya, Banana, Lychee, Guava, Passion Fruit, Coconut
Fruity – Berry
Raspberry, Strawberry, Blueberry, Blackberry, Concord Grape, White Grape, Gooseberry, Black Currant/Catty, Red Currant, White Wine
Fruity – Stone Fruit
Peach, Apricot, Nectarine, Cherry, Plum
Fruity – Melon
Cantaloupe, Honeydew, Cucumber, Watermelon
Fruity – Pomme
Geranium, Rose, Lavender, Jasmine, Elderflower, Potpourri
Pine, Resinous, Cedar, Tobacco, Sandalwood
Black Tea, Green Tea, Mint, Rosemary, Bergamot, Dill, Thyme, Basil, Sage, Cannabis, Skunk, Menthol
Fresh Cut Grass, Lemongrass, Green Leaves, Hay
Black Pepper, Clove, Licorice/Anise, Ginger, Coriander, Cardamom
Caramel, Chocolate, Vanilla, Bubblegum
Plastic, Rubber, Burnt Rubber, Smoke, Petroleum, Diesel
Cheese, Cream, Waxy
Musty, Soil, Marsh, Moss
Onion, Green Onion, Garlic, Green Bell Pepper, Celery, Asparagus, Cabbage
Hoppy or malty, spiced or sour, session-strength quaffers or fireside sippers, if your favorite beers are brewed by local breweries – especially those located in Kentucky, and subject to the state’s current pandemic restrictions – please go to them, mask up, transact curbside, enjoy their beers at home, and help keep these many dreams alive during troubled times.
(The cover photo was taken at the hop museum in Poperinge, Belgium during the city’s triennial hop festival in September, 2017).