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Know Your Hops, Rogue Farms Freedom and Rebel

During IPA May we’re giving you the first close up look at the varieties of hops we grow at Rogue Farms.

Hops not only define the IPA style, they also define beer. That’s because there are a lot things you can create from barley, water and yeast. But if hops are in the recipe, chances are 99.6% you’re brewing beer.

The Rogue Farms 42-acre hopyard in May. This is the start of the growing season and over the next six to seven weeks the bines will climb another 18 feet to the top of the trellis.

Before we get into the nitty gritty, here’s your Rogue Farms guide to understanding hops.

Alpha acids: These are the compounds that add bitterness to beer, though the process is more complicated than most people realize. The three major components of alpha acids are humulone, cohumulone and adhumulone. All by themselves they’re not bitter. But when they’re boiled in the wort they’re transformed into six kinds of iso-alpha acids which are very bitter.

Alpha acids also stabilize beer foam and prevent the growth of bacteria. When the British shipped beer to India, they loaded on the hops to prevent spoilage during the long voyage at sea. Which is where we get the name, India Pale Ale or IPA.

Total Oils: The oils in hop cones contribute flavor and aroma to beer. There are at least 400 types of oils found in hops, each with flavors such as citrus, herbal, grassy, pine, fruit and more. (True hops heads will break down those categories even further, such as citrus into lemon and grapefruit.) How oils contribute aroma is less understood, and brewing scientists are working hard to find the answers.

Where do the alpha acids and oils come from? From the yellow sticky material inside the cone called lupulin
Where do the alpha acids and oils come from? From the yellow sticky material inside the cone called lupulin

Today being May 4th, we’re looking at two of the hops we use to brew our 4 Hop IPA, one of our IPA May series of beers.

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Over the next few weeks, we’ll profile our other Rogue Farms hop varieties. By the time we’re done you’ll be a bona fide hop expert.

Sharing our knowledge and love of hops is part of what Rogue Farms is all about. As we learned since becoming farmers, the more you know about the ingredients in your beer, the more you appreciate the quality and flavor in your glass.

Join us at the farm this spring and see the Ground To Glass journey for yourself as we celebrate hops and IPA May.

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