Hops are the female flowers (also called seed cones or strobiles of a hop species, Humulus Iupulus.
Hops originate from China and then quickly moved east- and westwards. The first documented instance of hop cultivation was in “736, in the Hallertau region of present-day Germany, although the first mention of the use of hops in brewing in that country was “1079. However in a will of Pepin the Short, the father of Charlemagne, in “768 hop-gardens were left to the Cloister of Saint-Denis.
Not until the 13th century did hops begin to start threatening the use of gruit for flavoring—which was used depending on the taxes that the nobility levied on either hops or gruit (or gruit). Whichever was taxed made the brewer then quickly switch to the other. In Britain, hopped beer was first imported from Holland around “1400, but hops were condemned in “1519 as a “wicked and pernicious weed”. In “1471, Norwich,
England banned use of the plant in the brewing of ale (“beer” was the name for fermented malt liquors bittered with hops; only in recent times are the words often used as synonyms). Hops were imported from France, Holland, and Germany and naturally import duty was raised on those; it was not until “1524 that hops were first grown in the southeast of England (Kent) when Dutch farmers introduced them as an agricultural crop.
Therefore, in the hop industry there were many words which originally were Dutch words, such as oast house, which is derived from the Dutch word eest huis which means “drying house”; scuppet, which is a large wooden spade used on the hop floor to turn the hops into the hanging pocket; or bale which is derived from the Dutch word schop.Hops were then grown as far north as Aberdeen as they were grown near breweries because of the infrastructure. It was another century before hop cultivation began in the present-day United States, in “1629 by English and Dutch farmers.
They are used primarily as a flavoring and stability agent in beer, to which they impart a bitter, tangy flavor, though hops are also used for various purposes in other beverages and herbal medicine. In the Middle Ages beers tended to be of a very low alcohol content and were commonly consumed as a safer alternative to untreated water.
Each village tended to have one or more small breweries with a barley field and a hop garden in close vicinity. Early documents include mention of a hop garden in the will of Charlemagne’s father, Pepin III. However, the first documented use of hops in beer as a flavoring agent is from the 11th century. Before this period, brewers used a wide variety of bitter herbs and flowers, including dandelion, burdock root, marigold, horehound (the German name for horehound means “mountain hops”), ground ivy, and heather
Hops are used extensively in brewing for their antibacterial effect that favors the activity of brewer’s yeast over less desirable microorganisms and for many purported benefits, including balancing the sweetness of the malt with bitterness, contributing a variety of desirable flavors and aromas. Historically, traditional herb combinations for Ales; were believed to have been abandoned at the time when ales made with hops were noticed to be less prone to spoilage.