This book is all about my favorite beer ingredient: The hops! A very versatile tool to hide mistakes or enhance the flavor with. Want your brew to taste like lemon without adding the fruit? There is hops for that. Want drinkers of your beer to experience open fields with an ocean view? There is a hop for that. Stan Hieronymus takes us on the journey to discover the secrets of the lean, green, and (sometimes) grassy ingredient.
“Farmers would have chosen to propagate sister varieties that occured naturally in their gardens because of yield, brewability, resistance to disease, and other crieria breeders use today” – Stan Hieronymus
While the other books in the Brewing Element Series* are more based on numbers, facts and technical details “For the love of Hops” is leaning more towards storytelling where practical information is mixed in – Sometimes it read like a disorganized journal, and the journal is made from notes of the authors years of travel and experience. And every now and then the notes are jumbled.
That is not a negative critique, its quite refreshing to read a book in this style in this series. The passion glows in every page and its quite clear that the author not only knows a lot, but also cares a lot about the topic.
While covering hops impact on society through history lessons and beer science (and how little we stories is the backbone of the book, my favorite part of it was the tales from brewers and farmers experiences with the plant.
Knowing almost nothing about the world of growing hops, this book opened my eyes to the whole process of how new strains gets from fields to beer barrels. Its amazing to read about the raw material you’ve used so many times but really didn’t know where they are from or how they got born.
“Hop Breeders appreciate, even share, the excitement about new special aromas but understand if farmers can’t afford to grow a plant that has no future. They focus first on agronomics – on finding plants that yield well, are less susceptible to disease and attack by insects, and can be easily harvested and stored”
There might not be too much meat in this book for the homebrewer that isn’t particularly interested in history and stories from other brewers. I really appreciated chapter 10, aptly named ‘ What Works’, going through different recepies from different breweries and the inventor talking about the technique used for brewing it (and the why’s).
If you are an enthusiast and can’t learn too much about all aspects of beer brewing, this book will easily slot into your shelf, no problem. If that doesn’t sound like you, I’d recommend to try (loan at the library) before a buy here.