From the HBD Archive
Subject: Hops, relatives, and REAL beer
Date: 1989-06-09 14:38:00 GMT

> " A few months back someone asked about the possibility of
>replacing hops with a related plant renowned for its narcotic
>properties. I tried this once, with mixed results."

>Excuss me a minute, while I flame. 1) Hops and that other herb
>to which you are referring, besides being plants, are not

Sorry, Erik, I think you're wrong. My reference (Michigan Flora, by Edward
G. Voss, 1985) locates both Cannabis (hemp) and Humulus (hops) in the Hemp
Family (Cannabaceae). [A few authors place both genera in the Moraceae, the
mulberry family]. Thus, unless you're a creationist, or have some new
molecular data I'm not aware of, you have to acknowledge that the two herbs
in question are in fact more closely related than all plants in general.
[Related is such a relative term, if you'll excuse the redundancy]. If you
have some new data on this, please provide a citation while flaming.

>2) Why would you put anything in beer or encourage
>others to use ingredients which contribute negatively to the
>flavor and natural aroma of beer? 3)If you want to use drugs, go
>ahead. But if you want to brew REAL beer, use only hops, malt,
>water and yeast.

First of all, I doubt the intention was to add something "negative" to the
beer. The initial attempt just didn't work out. Your attitude about what
REAL beer is seems a little narrow to me. I'm all for the Reinheitsgebot
when it comes to German style lagers, but it seems the history of brewing
allows for a little more variation and imagination than hops, malt, water and
yeast (a fantastic combination, I admit). I'd direct you to a Zymurgy issue
a year or two back which outlined a large number of herbs which have been
used in the production of beer (I believe yarrow was a equal contender to
hops in English brewing for a certain period). Having dabbled in the addition
of such ingredients as cherries, ginger, and cardomom (not at the same time)
to beer with positive results, I can attest to the ability of flavoring
adjuncts to complement the wonderful flavor and aroma of "REAL beer." I
suspect the same could be done with "drugs" (have a beer, Erik, calm
your nerves). Maybe not -- but let's not stifle creativity with orthodoxy.

Jackie Brown (Bitnet: BROWN@MSUKBS)

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