Do you like hops? Do you love hops? I mean, do you really love hops? Hops are a plant (actually the flowers of the plant) that were originally added to beer to act as a natural preservative. But a wonderful side effect is that they add a lovely bitterness to the brew. Really good varieties of hops, brewed correctly, will also add, underneath the bitterness, lovely and complex flavors of citrus fruits like grapefruit, pine sap and pine needles, and lush, green wheat grass. India Pale Ale (IPA) is a pale ale ale that was intentionally brewed with relatively large amounts of hops to survive the ocean voyages to India, so that Her Majesty could provide ale to the occupying troops. This India Pale Ale is my personal favorite style of beer, and as of now, my favorite IPA is Bear Republic Republic Racer 5 IPA. But I digress.
Much of the nation’s hops come from the great state of Idaho, also known for providing delicious, high-quality potatoes to most Americans (and other nations as well). The good news is that Idaho will produce about 4o0 new acres of hops in 2014, many of them the aromatic varieties that produce such lovely bouquets. In 2013, Idaho increased hops production by 39%, so this year’s 400 acres continue a great-looking trend. Also good news for farmers is that hops prices are slowly but steadily rising. Moreover, about 80% of the new 400 acres will be aromatic hops. Yay for hopheads! If you enjoy a really great, hoppy, bitter, aromatic IPA, then send us a review and let the world know why you love hops.