Hops: Beyond Beer

By Paris Wolhopsfarmfe, Blogmaster, The Herb Society of America

Hops flowers can do more than give you a buzz. Like chamomile and lavender, they are said to hasten sleep. Simply sew a sachet, put it near your pillow and Zzzzzz.  To get more insight for the herb user, Blogmaster Paris Wolfe interviewed Kori Rodley, public and media relations coordinator from Mountain Rose Herbs in Eugene, Oregon.

Q. Where are hops traditionally grown?
A. Hops grow best in moist, temperate climates like Germany, the Pacific Northwestern United States, and central Europe.

Q. How many varieties are there? Do they differ greatly? Is it like grapes and wine?
A. Hops can be like wine grapes. Different varieties tend to be grown in different regions where they are best suited. They have different flavors, sizes. If you look at beer brewing recipes, you will see that different hops are used in different recipes and at different points in the brewing—some used for bitterness, some for flavor, and some for aroma.

Q. What variety best induces sleep?
A. All hops have similar relaxing qualities. The plant, “Humulus lupulus,” is considered a sedative plant so the variety shouldn’t matter. It is a matter of taste and preference.

Q. What are their uses?
A. Hops can be used in all sorts of culinary and medicinal ways. One can make a tea, tincture, vinegar or other infusion. They are also made into essential oil.  I have even seen recipes for hops flowers sautéed in butter and garlic.

Hops copyQ. What parts are used?
A. The female hop flowers are generally used in brewing, culinary applications and herb projects. However, leaves, stems and roots are edible.

Q. How does a home user acquire the fresh or dried flowers?
A. You can buy hops plants at local garden nurseries and online, if you’d like to grow them yourself. You may be able to find fresh flowers at your local farmer’s market in the late summer or get in touch with a local brewer to see if they have a source. You can also buy hops in a dried pellet form—normally frozen—from a brew supply shop. Mountain Rose Herbs sells the dehydrated organic hops flowers in bulk. 

A Word About the Company:  Mountain Rose Herbs has wide range of product offerings including bulk herbs and spices, aromatherapy and essential oils, tea and tea supplies, and natural health and body care. Every aspect of product creation is carried out in accordance with strict quality control and organic handling procedures.