Two articles on the history of hops that miss a few important points. For instance: the various versions of ale are “beer.” The basic difference is the strain of yeast and where it ferments: top or bottom. There also was a time when the church also opposed beer without hops because aphrodisiacs and psychotropics were used for gruit. Hops can tend to make some people sleepy, so lessening the chance of sin was considered a favorable outcome; at least as far as the church was concerned.
Here are two articles on hops with excerpts. We’re also going to invite a Nashville “hops-spert” (as in “expert”) to add his comments and suggestions to the mix.
“Pliny (61-113 AD) discusses hops in his study of natural history. To the Romans, it was Lupus Salictartius, from the way they originally grew. As the ancients said, hops grew ‘wild among willows, like a wolf among sheep,’ hence the name Humulus Lupulus.”
“The hop has its place in folklore. Along with the animals who are supposed to receive the gift of speech late on Christmas Eve, the hop is supposed to turn green in the same night.”
“As with all change, there were sufficient English enthusiasts on both sides to keep the debate going for more than a century. Written testimony to the beastly nature of hopped beer and the equal evil of hopped ale is available in quantity. In 1424, hopes were condemned as an adulteration, and as late as 1651, hopped beer was described in John Taylor’s Ale Ale-vated into the Ale-titude as ‘a Dutch boorish liquor… a saucy intruder.'”