Friday, January 26, 2024

History of hopped beer

Beer is a popular alcoholic beverage worldwide, traditionally made from water, barley and hops. Compared with the other raw materials, hop is a minor, but indispensable, ingredient in beer production.

Before hopped beer there was “gruit” beer‐ an herb mixture to provide flavor and bitterness. Archbishop of Cologne, Germany held monopolistic rights to gruit.

It is assumed that ancient Caucasian people brewed hopped beer, and that this technology came with their migration to Northern and Eastern Europe.

The first recorded use of hops in brewing in Europe originates from the ninth century. In 822 AD, Abbot Adalhard of the Benedictine Monastery of Corbie issued a set of instructions for his abbey.

Brewers use hops primarily to get bitterness, flavor, and aroma. Hops can be added at several points in the brewing process to enhance one or the other of those things.

The use of hops in Western monasteries has been further documented in Fontanelle and St. Denis during the eighth and ninth centuries AD.

Evidence suggests that commercial hop cultivation began in northern Germany during the 12th or 13th century and that the Germans were exporting hopped beer from the 13th century onward.

In the 1300’s, the Dutch began importing hopped beer and then began brewing their own. Hops were planted in England by the early 1400’s and in 1436, Henry VI praised hopped beer as “notable, healthy, and temperate.”

The first evidence of hopped beer being brewed in England is from 1412 and for a time English brewers produced both un-hopped “ale” and hopped “beer.” Brewers started to import dried Flemish hops but these contained so much extraneous matter that an Act of Parliament was passed in 1603 imposing penalties on merchants and brewers found dealing in hops adulterated with ‘leaves, stalks, powder, sand, straw and with loggetts of wood dross’.

On April 23, 1516 the Bavarian Reinheitsgebot was put into effect declaring hops one of the three allowable beer ingredients.

By the 17th century ale (i.e.: un-hopped beer) was no longer popular and beer was the established drink and by 1655 hop cultivation grew rapidly in fourteen counties of England. In 1710 the English parliament banned the use of non-hop bittering agents, at least in part to prevent brewers from evading the new penny-per-pound hop tax.

In United States, in 1629, the hop cones were used for beer brewing. The young shoots in the spring were eaten as a special treat in salads. While, the first commercial hops harvested in Massachusetts in 1791. In the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries New York produced about eighty percent of the nation’s hops.
History of hopped beer

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