Tuesday Beer Trivia: British Hops

Test yourself the evolution of British hops in this week’s Tuesday Beer Trivia.

Hops bred in the UK environment have characteristic flavors that are different than those of hops grown elsewhere.

After you take the Beer Trivia quiz below, scroll down to “Beer Trivia Answer Explanations” section to learn more about Hops of the United Kingdom.

Beer Trivia Answer Explanations

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The following explanations were taken from “What’s New with British Hops” by Alison Capper, originally featured in the September/October 2017 issue of Zymurgy.

Question 1: False. While the United Kingdom was the first country in the world to create a scientific hop-breeding program, it started about 30 years before, in 1906, not 1936.

Question 2: British hops are special thanks to the UK’s latitude, climate, soil, irradiation (hours of sunshine), and unique breeding history. All of this gives UK hops lower levels of myrcene than any other growing region in the world. Lower levels of myrcene make for especially delicate and complex aromas.

Question 3: Goldings is referred to in the plural because it is a “family” of similar hop varieties. In 1737, British hop growers recognized the significance of their discovery and went on to create a family of Goldings. Every new “Goldings” hop is named either after its grower, its location, its harvest date, or its brewer.

Question 4: Worcestershire is located in the West Midlands, and Kent is located in the South East. These two area have a unique terroir, great soils, and a mild maritime climate. Prior to the 20th century, there were more hop farms across the UK, but due to lager being more popular than ales and some changes in taxes in the UK, hop acreage fell dramatically.

Question 5: Until hops were introduced in the 15th century, beers were brewed without hops. After that, brewers primarily used hops to preserve beer, but by the 17th century hopped ale had overtaken unhoped beer and cultivation grew rapidly. It was the golden age for hops in Britain, and acreage continued to grow until 1878, when it reached its peak.

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