In recent years, hops have galavanted their way into popular culture. They have ascended from an obscure brewer’s plant to a glowing, green symbol of the craft beer world.
Still, hops are misunderstood by most and under appreciated by many. These four facts should enlighten, entrance and (believe it or not) help keep your pets safe.
1) Not all hops are bitter.
Hops are known primarily as the ingredient that brings all that bitterness to IPA’s. It’s true, they most certainly do. So… lots of hops means bitter beer, right?
Not so fast.
There are plenty of varieties that are super low in bitterness and high in aroma. They’re called Noble Hops, and they’re used extensively by brewers to give styles like Summer Ales all those floral, citrus and sweet-ish scents. Strands like Hallertauer, Saaz, Fuggle and Goldings all fall in the ‘noble’ category. Far from packing a bitter punch, they actually make your beer flowery, aromatic and highly quaffable.
The point? “Hoppy” beers aren’t always bitter.
2) Hops and weed are cousins.
They look, feel and smell similar for a reason. Both humulus lupus (hops) and cannabis sativa (da chronic) belong to the wonderful family Cannabinaceae.
They share tons of properties, but not all properties. That’s to say, go ahead and smoke hops if you’d like, but don’t expect much more than a sore throat.
3) Hops are toxic to dogs.
Whether you’re a homebrewer, plant enthusiast or just got duped into buying a dimebag full of hops- make sure Fido doesn’t get a hold of them.
According to the ASPCA, hops are highly toxic to man’s best friend. If ingested, they can cause panting, high body temperature, seizure and death. No joke.
4) Hops are killer preservatives.
Brewers used to include all types of plants and herbs in their beer recipes before they landed on hops. Dandelion, marigold, ground ivy, heather, horehound (not what you think) and burdock root were popular choices.
But, when beermakers of yore started throwing hops in the mix, they noticed their beer not only tasted better but that it wasn’t spoiling nearly as often. That’s because hops contain all sorts of naturally occurring resins and oils that have antibacterial and preservative effects.
In fact, it’s the preservative quality of hops that indirectly led to the creation of the IPA style during British colonial times. Does this mean that drinking tons of hoppy beers will make you live longer? Probably not, but it’s definitely worth a shot.