Attention beer lovers! A primer on hops from around the world
on 26/02/13 at 9:11 amBeer
Much more than just a bittering agent, hops are the soul of beer. They balance the sweetness of the malt and furnish a refreshing flavor and pungent aroma to beer, and American craft brewers are experts at showcasing this spectrum of flavors that hops lend to beer.
There are a handful of hop-producing regions in the world, each with its own signature hop variety that has historically provided defining flavors for the region’s brews. Here are a few broad categories of hop varieties and some suggested brews to try that will showcase their signature flavors:
The Noble Hops
The hops traditionally used by European brewers are now known as “Noble hops,” and they are prized for their delicate and floral flavor. The most famous example is the Czech Saaz hops that are responsible for the herbal “zing” of the continental pilsners like Pilsner Urquell. Philadelphia’s Victory Brewing makes Prima Pils, a pilsner aimed at hop-heads that exemplifies the spicy and aromatic qualities of the noble hop family.
The hoppy pale ales that gained popularity in the 19th century were defined by the soft herbal and earthy character of English hops. East Kent Goldings hops are most identified with British Ales, and the floral Fuggles variety is also commonly found in British-style bitters. Firestone Walker Double Barrel Ale is an excellent American craft example that showcases the rich earthiness of East Kent Golding hops.