The hop, lat. humulus lupulus, is a close relative of the hemp plant. The shoots of this cultivar can reach up to 12 metres, only the female flowers (hop cones) are harvested.
The hop-growers and brewers put high demands on the plant: It must be profitable in production and simultaneously be suitable for the brewing process. Therefore during the past 1,200 years in Germany outstanding hops have been bred which comply not only with the grower's but also with the brewer's needs both in economical and in qualitative terms.
We want to outline some of this know-how which has been collected over centuries and give an insight into the secrets of this "magical" plant.
Hops are produced as a monoculture on a relatively small area: only 0.17 % of the agricultural area in Germany is under hops. This small market enables the quality to be ascertained and recorded without any gaps, in a way that is unknown to us for any other agronomic product (traceability). As far as quality control is concerned, there are standards laid down for hops. Furthermore the brewers can be confident that the hop varieties grown in Germany have not been genetically manipulated. ... more in the chapter "The Plant"