As promised, a lesson in hops is on the way.  I am breaking this into two or three sessions, since there is a lot of ground to cover when it comes to this marvelous feat of nature.  This post is going to focus on non-beer qualities of the herb.  The post(s) to come will delve into the beer history and the horticulture of the plant.

While in the grand scheme and history of beer hops are relatively new convention, they have found a home in human history for far longer.  In fact, the original name for the hop, Lupus Salictarius, is credited as originating from the lips of a famed naturalist, and contemporary of Jesus Christ, Pliny the Elder, who died in 79 C.E. while observing the eruption of Mount Vesuvius.  Literally translated the Latin reads, “wolf among scrubs.” Pliny the Elder was referring to the nature of the plant; that they grew wild amongst domesticated willows like wolves in the forest.   In fact there is a beer we may just have to taste on an upcoming Friday from Russian River Brewing Co. called Pliny the Elder.

Hops were used and consumed by Pliny the Elder and his Roman country men for medicinal purposes.  In fact,

Pliny the Elder

Pliny the Elder

according to a report from Purdue University, the has been used as anaphrodisiac, anodyne, antiseptic, diuretic, hypnotic, nervine, sedative, soporific, stomachic, sudorific, tonic, and vermifuge, hops is a folk remedy for boils, bruises, calculus, cancer, cramps, cough, cystitis, debility, delirium, diarrhea, dyspepsia, fever, fits, hysteria, inflammation, insomnia, jaundice, nerves, neuralgia, rheumatism, and worms.

Gentlemen, please note that the hop is proven to damper the sex drive and is a sedative, so this coming Saturday (Valentine’s Day) I suggest you NOT serve your main squeeze a bottle of India Pale Ale if you want the night to end well.

The hop is widely use in witchcraft for a variety of potions, no potions of which are beer.  Which is good, or else we may have to change the name of this blog.

More to come…Cheers!