It seems unthinkable in today’s world of double and triple IPAs that much of beer’s evolution took place without hops at all. It’s true — for nearly 8,000 years brewers made beer with of a variety of other herbs, spices and plants like Juniper, coriander, spruce and rosemary as preservatives and flavorings agents. This hopless drink is now called Gruit or Grut. Though there aren’t many brewers making beer without hops today, if you’re really interested in finding out what it tastes like, German brewers Professor Fritz Briem make an excellent one called 18th Century Grut Bier.
Our current brew obsession has a lot to do with the wide range of incredible flavors and aromas imparted by different kinds of hops. There’s also a common misconception that all hops are bitter, which is far from true. Hop profiles are incredibly diverse, from the intense tropical and citrus fruits of Citra hops to the white wine and gooseberry flavor imparted by Nelson Sauvin. Check out 13 other things you probably didn’t know about the best thing to happen to beer since water:
1. These Hops Sure are Pliny
You’ve heard the name in Russian River’s iconic IPA, but who was Pliny and why is he so important to one of the best-rated beers in craft brewing history? Well all those hoppy beers you love? Thank Pliny the Elder himself! He was the first recorded description of hops in his early encyclopedia “Naturalis Historia” published around 80 AD. Interesting to note: If not for his fate via Mount Vesuvius, he might have taught us so much more.
2. Hoppy Beer Comes from France
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