Tag Archives: Bitterness

Hops: An Overview

The flower of the humulus lupus rhimzhone has been instrumental to the evolution of beer. The direction in which hop cultivation in America has progressed has had an amazing influence on craft beer today.  This section will focus on this significant development.  The pioneers of the American craft beer movement in the 1970’s, such as Sierra Nevada Brewing Company and Anchor Brewing Company,  were instrumental in helping improve the quality of hops grown in America.  Today,  there are 41 hop varieties that make up 99% of the hops grown in the United States.  The majority of hops for commercial beer production are grown in the states of Washington, Oregon and Idaho.  Some are dopplegangers of traditional European hops, while others are distinctly American.  Here is an overview of some important hop vocabulary:

Alpha Acids: The source of most of the bitterness in beer, and thus of great importance to brewers.  Hops flowers (cones) have widely varying percentages of alpha acids.   American superalpha varieties