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Craft Beer: Hops, Hops & More Hops. But, I Bet You Didn’t Know This….

Beer and HopsThe craft brew industry is raging! And raging for a good reason. It’s chill, the people are nice, it creates a sense of community, and oh yea, the beer. The beer is good 🙂 And hops, whoa, are those guys popular! How hoppy can you go?! One hop, two hop, three hop, four?! More, more, more. There should be a little song and dance about the hop content of a beer, they’re clearly judged upon it at this point. BUT, do you know about hops and how they came to be in beer anyway? Once you do, I think you might see an opportunity for the craft brew scene to have super sub-specialty.

In the past, long before any of us came along, home brewing was commonplace. It’s been around for ages – the art of beer making. It just was. Everyone made it, just like wine. Each house had their own unique recipe and used whatever specific herbs were local to their area. They tended to be herbs that had euphoric and aphrodisiac qualities (of course! why wouldn’t you want those properties in beer?!). Other herbs were used for their mild psychotropic properties (for when you really wanted to get wild…). Euphoric, aphrodisiac, mild psychotropic…sounds like the kind of brew that would make for a fun and happy group.

Anyway, all was going along quite nicely until the Puritans arrived. Happy, horny and a little trippy were certainly not qualities that they were going to condone. So they decided that they had to take action. Taking the beer away outright was out of the question, so they simply said no more to the associated horseplay. So how did they get rid of that, you ask? Well, simply really. They brought in hops, and made those other, racier herbs illegal. So, hops it was and to this day hops it continues to be. But why hops? Well, because they’re a sedative and an anaphrodisiac. They make you sleepy and not horny. That sounds about right for a Puritan. Oh, hops also do something else – they’re estrogenic – they help to bring in milk flow for nursing mothers, and when women cultivate them together they will begin to menstruate together. Guys, did you hear that?! They’re highly estrogenic. Something to ponder on when you go for ever higher and higher hop content…not sure the last time I heard a guy talking about how he wanted to supplement with estrogen….hmmmm……

You might want to argue with me at this point and tell me that hops are necessary because they are bitter and antibacterial – two important qualities in beer. This is true, they sure are, but they’re certainly not the only bitter and antibacterial herbs that can be used to make amazing beers.

Want to know 2 that are bitter, antibacterial, euphoric and aphrodisiacs that make excellent brews?

Yarrow yarrow





mugwortMugwort (also mildly psychotropic)





These are both weeds, and far less expensive than hops. No shortage on either, as there was with hops a few years back. They also won’t make you sleepy and you might just get a little action after drinking them….can you really argue their benefit over hops? Go ahead, please try 😉   Or better yet, the next time you’re visiting your local craft brewer, ask him/her about this and see if they’d be willing to test a new and surely promising beer market. Or better yet, make your own. The world could use more happy and horny homebrewers 🙂

For more excellent material on the subject, along with recipes and instructions, check out this book by Stephen Buhner. You won’t be disappointed!

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