So, I'm sure you've heard of hops, after all they are in every* beer! And perhaps you even say something like "Uggh, I hate hoppy beers!" but truthfully without this wonderful plant the beer would be sickly sweet. Hops can be added in such small amounts that the beer is so sweet your face puckers to so hoppy your face puckers or it can just be balanced and nice.
In any case, I'd bet there is a lot you don't know about hops. This post will have you ready for any trivia questions anybody throws at you.
FUN FACTS ABOUT HOPS:
1) Hops grow on Bines not Vines. Bines grow and twist around something, vines grow little tendrils like arms that grip onto things.
2) Hops always twist in a clockwise direction. Yup, even if you mess with them, they'll still unwind and go back to clockwise.
3) Hops are a cousin of Cannabis Sativa better known as Marijuana.
4) Like Cannabis, hops have sexes. There are male and female plants, you can distinguish this by their flowers. Only the female plants produce the hop cones used in beer.
5) There are over 75 known varieties of hops.
6) Hops can grow up to 12" a day!
7) In brewing there are two "types" of hops, bittering and aroma.
8) Hops can help you sleep... You can apparently smoke hops as a sleep aid and of course, drinking too many IPAs will definitely help you sleep. But "Hops under your pillow" is an old farmer trick for encouraging a good night's sleep.
9) Hops were originally used as a preservative in beer.
10) A high Alpha acid beer is better suited for flavor while a lower acid level is good for aroma.
*I realize that some beers are "hopped" with another ingredient such as heather for a Scottish ale. BUT 99.9% of beer includes hops...