Beer and Hop- What’s the Link?
We’ve all heard of beer. But have you ever heard of hops? Surprisingly, these two things are linked! While visiting my friend in Cambridge, Massachusetts one week-end, I attended a beer tasting event. Although most of us normally drink beer to decompress or have fun, Harvard students find ways to learn while drinking. Now that’s multitasking alright!
Beer is made of 4 ingredients: water, yeast, malted barley and hops. The purpose of our beer tasting event was to detect the “hoppiness” of the beers in question. The flower of the hops flowering vine is added in the boiling process to act as a preservative and add both flavour and aroma to the beer. The more the hops are boiled during the process, the more bitterness it adds to the beer while decreasing the hop flavour and aroma in the beer.
Another thing I learned while drinking that night are my new taste buds for IPA (India Pale Ale). IPA is a type of ale with an amber to copper colour. It’s a “hoppy” type of beer, meaning you can really taste the bitterness and aroma of the hops. IPA originated in the 1700′s when the British were looking to export beer to their troops in India. They were facing many challenges in preserving the beer, considering that it would take up to 5 months for a British soldier to receive the beer. Since brewers then knew that both hops and alcohol acted as a preservative, they concocted a brew that was hopped and high on alcohol, thus the birth of IPA.