Do you enjoy beer? I confess I’m a fan of beverages with a slightly bitter edge. Hops provide the bitterness, a nice counterpoint to the sweetness of malt. Though depending on the hop, it can also create a citrusy flavor as well.

I’m always amazed by what people create and the ways we experiment to try to make something better. The first documented use of hops was back in the 9th century. Prior to a widespread use of hops, brewers used ‘gruit’ to flavor the beer. Gruit could be any combination of plants like dandelion, burdock root, marigold, horehound, ground ivy and heather. As time wore on, brewers noticed that batches with hops didn’t spoil as readily as beer without hops. It would seem hops have a natural antimicrobial element. Voila, the beer we know today was born.

When I came across photos of hops, I was enchanted. Tell me these aren’t a photogenic plant.

Here’s a quote from Wikipedia about how hops are dried and processed: Harvest comes near the end of summer when the bines are pulled down and the flowers are taken to a hop house or oast house for drying. Hop houses are two-story buildings, of which the upper story has a slatted floor covered with burlap. Here the flowers are poured out and raked even. A heating unit on the lower floor is used to dry the hops. When dry, the hops are moved to a press, a sturdy box with a plunger. Two long pieces of burlap are laid into the hop press at right angles, the hops are poured in and compressed into bales. (Source)

FunFacts about Hops (Source) (Source)

  • Hops are flowers of the plant Humulus lupulus. The flower is called a seed cone or a strobile.
  • Hops are used to add flavor and stability to beer and range from citric, to bitter, to zesty.
  • As an herbal medicine, hops have been used as a sedative, an anti-inflammatory, estrogen support, and as an antimicrobial.
  • Hops are native to Europe but have been cultivated all over the world.
  • The first documented use of hops in beer-making is from the 9th century. 
  • The key component of hops that made it so popular was its antimicrobial effect. Brewers noticed beer made with hops was less likely to spoil.
  • Hop plants like the same soil as potatoes. But hops need a moist temperate climate.
  • Hops are a climbing plant.

*** This Week’s Giveaway is Over ***

We have a winner! Congrats, Tamara K.!!!

For a chance to win this paranormal romance bracelet, scroll to the bottom of the page and read the details for entering. You will be leaving a comment as the entry requirement. Giveaway ends midnight, Arizona time, September 28, 2017.

September Winners: Malissa P., Denise H. and Betty O.!

August Winners: Kim S., Dianne K. C., Pansy P., Tamara K. and Marie S.

And now, here are the photos! Enjoy!  (Photos from Pixabay…)

I hope you enjoyed these photos. Be sure to keep scrolling to leave a comment for the weekly prize draw. Details below!

Caris Roane Home Page

~ ~ ~   ~ ~ ~   ~ ~ ~   ~ ~ ~   ~ ~ ~

Sign up for my newsletter!

For more about my books, check out my Books Page!

*** This Week’s Giveaway is Over ***

We have a winner! Congrats, Tamara K.!!!

September Winners: Denise H. and Betty O.! Congrats!

August Winners: Kim S., Dianne K.C., Pansy P., Tamara K., Marie S.

To be in the running for this handcrafted paranormal romance bracelet, made by yours truly, please leave a comment at the bottom of this post. Also, feel free to post comments on every Caris Roane blog, Monday thru Thursday this week, to increase your chances of winning this week’s prize drawing. Only one win per month allowed!

New contest ends midnight, Arizona time, on Thursday, September 28, 2017! On Friday, September 29th, Arizona time, I’ll select the winning blog then the winning comment. I’ll use Random.org to make my selection! You may only win once per month. International winner receives gift card.

*** This week’s giveaway! *** To be entered into the giveaway drawing, please leave a comment about hops. Have you ever grown hops? Have you ever made beer at home? Which photo did you like best? Feel free to share whatever comes to mind and share from the heart. 

*** And tell us where you’re from! I’m from Buckeye, Arizona, not far from Phoenix. (That’s the Desert Southwest, USA.) ***

Above all: Live the fang!!!