Sometimes, the ingredient names that sound so unfamiliar and strange to you are exactly the ones being used in your favorite foods and drinks (without you even realizing it).
Hops are one of those ingredients.
They are a key flavoring and bittering agent in beer, giving the drink its distinct malt taste.
But what does hops taste like exactly? Yes, it is generally bitter.
But that’s not the only flavor profile it brings to the table.
Besides, hops aren’t the only star ingredient in brewing beer.
There’s so much more to this amazing flower that you’re yet to explore.
And you’ll get to do that in this blog post.
What are Hops?
Hops refer to the flowers that grow on the Humulus Lupulus plant.
They belong to the Cannabaceae family, the same as cannabis.
Did you know that this flower has different varieties, each grown and used for a particular beer style? For example, the Agnus hops are used in German-style ales and lagers, while the Apollo hops are bred for brewing Imperial IPA.
Likewise, you’ll come across other varieties, such as Admiral Hops, Beata Hops, Bouclier Hops, and Calicross Hops.
The flowers contain an essential oil that acts as a preservative in various drinks.
Apart from its primary job of bittering and stabilizing beer, hops are also widely used in producing other herbal medicines and beverages, such as soft drinks and herbal teas.
Let’s scroll down to learn more about the flavor and different uses of the hops flower.
What Do Hops Taste Like?
Despite having a typical bitterness, hops taste different depending on their variety and growing conditions.
And since they are somewhat unpalatable when eaten on their own, the plant is mainly used in combination with other food.
Admiral hops taste bitter and aren’t too overpowering.
Their mild flavor and aroma make them the best choice for brewing beer.
Beata hops are aromatic and have hints of honey, almond, and apricot flavors.
They make a great addition to teas.
Bouclier hops have a floral, spicy, and citrusy flavor.
Meanwhile, Calicross hops are fruity, floral, and earthy and have a mild aroma.
If their area of expertise lies in the brewery, can hops be nutritious for your health? A plain ‘Yes’ wouldn’t be enough to vouch for its benefits.
Hops are particularly treasured for their vitamin content; you’ll receive a good amount of vitamin B6 and vitamins C and E.
Flavonoids and Xanthohumol are additional compounds that do wonders.
Hops generally contain humulene and lupuline, which are used in medicines to give a sedative effect.
So, consuming them will help you sleep better and fight insomnia.
In addition to a better sleep routine, hops also help tackle your anxiety levels and mood disorders.
It is also effective against hormonal changes and menopause in particular.
Also, Xanthohumol present in the plant can aid in your fight against cancer and cardiovascular diseases.
Hops make brewing better on so many levels when compared to other botanicals.
The one reason that most people love to include hops in their beer is its natural preservative properties.
Hops also add aroma and varying flavors, which makes them so favored despite their comparative rarity.
How to Use Hops?
While on the topic of using hops, we have to mention its most common usage once more – brewing beer.
As we mentioned earlier, they help in bittering and flavoring the drink.
However, there are several other culinary and non-culinary uses for this ingredient as well.
For one, you can steep the hops flower in water to make a delicious and healthy tea.
As mentioned, this herbal tea is rich in vitamins, minerals, and other antioxidants that promote good health.
Hops are also used as a flavoring agent in various savory dishes such as soups and sauces.
If you wish to give your meal an extra bitterness and zing, add some hops or even the young shoots of the bine to it.
Besides, hops can be diced and sauteed like asparagus.
You can then dip it in sauces or use it as a topping on your favorite dishes.
Here are some non-culinary uses of hops:
- Perfect for making comfortable pillows.
- Make a beautiful and aromatic garland.
- Add to bath bombs for a relaxing bath experience.
- Use as mulch in the garden.
If you’re consuming hops as a medication, it is best to use it at bedtime because doing otherwise might trigger tiredness during the waking hours.
Hops can make your drinks taste so much better because of their distinct flavor and inherent aromas.
And with such wide varieties of the plant available, you’ll never run out of options to try in your beer or tea.
Despite their popularity in the brewery, hops still have many health benefits ranging from insomnia to cancer.
So, it’s never too late to add them to your diet in whatever ways you can.
And remember, they’re also considered sleep aids, so you might want to consider avoiding them during certain hours of the day.