Craft Cans

For the Love of Hops

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by Stan Hieronymus

On the face of it, a book that discusses the chemistry of hops, the intracies of plant genetics and the problems caused by verticillium wilt should not be an easy read, but this must-have work by Stan Hieronymus quashes that idea right from the start.

For the Love of HopsOf course there are complicated technical sections – the whole purpose of the book is to offer a full understanding of what hops are all about and you can't do that without getting into the science – but the book is a pleasure to read for anyone with an interest in brewing and the culture that surrounds it.

By focusing on the human side of hops, in a way favoured by the late Michael Jackson, Stan doesn't just sugar the pill of technical detail consumption, he recounts, with great warmth, a fascinating story of hops and their importance to humanity and, of course, to the farming and brewing communties.

For instance, as well as detailing such matters as how breeding programmes work and what isomerization entails, he takes us to meet a hop queen and tells us tales of hop pageants, underscoring the vitality the hop has long brought to communities.

Comprehensive Guide

Hieronymus begins his book with an exploration of hops' aromas and the chemistry behind them. He then leads us through hops' illustrious past and peers into their ambitious future, before heading to the farm and discovering all about cultivation and harvesting.

We are then offered a comprehensive guide to the various ways in which hops are prepared for brewers today and a discussion of how to use them, including how to calculate bitterness and other such technicalities.

After a report on how brewers guarantee quality, in a chapter headed 'The Good, the Bad and the Skunky', the book concludes with a selection of recipes, illustrating how certain brewers use hops in their successful beers.

Want to know how to work out the IBUs in a beer? The formula is here.

Keen to discover all the vital statistics of your favourite hops – alpha and beta acids, likely flavours, how well they store? They're all in the handy A–Z of hops that forms part of the book.

Ever thought about visiting a hop museum or delving deep into hop country? Stan's travelogues prepare the way.

This is a book that somehow manages to square the circle. In its combination of warm personal encounters and hard facts, it's of interest to the lay reader but also of value to the professional brewer. If the complex science at times goes over your head, then no problem. Skip on a few paragraphs and you're soon back in easier territory.

The title of the book hits the nail on the head. Tellingly, it is not called All About Hops, The Hop Guide or Everything You Want to Know about Hops.

It's called For the Love of Hops. If you spend quality time with brewers, hop merchants and farmers, as Stan has done, you'll understand that this tall, stringy, rather weird plant really is the subject of true adoration the world over.


1st edition (2012)

322-page paperback (Brewers Publications)

$19.99

Available now from amazon.co.uk or amazon.com

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