Hops are the seed cones of the humulus lupulus plant, known for their role in the brewing industry. Different varieties are used for different types of beer, with hundreds of varieties existing today. The amounts of alpha and beta acids present in each variety is what determines the respective aromatic and flavour properties. They are also beautiful, climbing perennials.
Aside from beer production, hops are also used for a variety of medicinal purposes such as in the treatment of anxiety, insomnia and as a digestive aid.
It’s estimated that there are 25-30 hop growers in Ontario where the province’s burgeoning collection of craft and micro breweries are among the largest consumers.
Currently, under the supervision of Mary Ruth McDonald and Sean Westerveld at the University of Guelph’s Simcoe Research Station, a hop yard is being developed in order to showcase the many varieties of this prolific plant.
With files from Simcoe Research Station publication “New Crops, Old Challenges: Tips and tricks for managing new crops!” and the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs.
Image provided by the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs.