Hi, my name is Chris Cuzme. I am a long-time member and current president of the New York City Home Brewer's Guild. I've been home brewing since about 2001, and I love it. I'm crazy addicted to it, and I'm happy to share it with you today. I'm also part of the New York City Degustation Advisory Team which I formed with my partner, Mary Izett, NYCDAT.com. I'll be showing you how to home brew today. Cheers!
Hops are in beer to counteract the sweetness in beer and they also act as a preservative, more so than other spices and herbs do. You know, like back in the day we weren't using hops; we were using rosemary and other spices that were there, but they didn't act as much as a preservative. There are alpha acids in hops that do that and assist us along in that. They provide bitterness, they provide flavor, and they provide the aroma.
They grow on vines; they're one of the fastest growing plants on the planet. Much like kelp in water, you can literally watch a hop plant grow in a day. It's pretty amazing. They need lots of sunlight, lots of water, and generally you don't get good hops until your third harvest which happens once a year. So basically, the third year of a hops life is when it really starts producing these really nice buds and hops.
Hops are spicy, hops are fruity, hops are citrusy, hops are piney, hops are delicious, hops smell great. They are one of the funnest parts about making beer.