Hop: the soul of beer!
Together with water, barley and yeasts, hop is the main ingredient in the production of beer. Hop belongs to the family of Cannabaceae and it is a climbing plant, which flowers, like cones, are specifically used to produce beer. But just the flowers of the female plant, because they are the only one that contain lupulin, a yellow-brown bust that give the typical bitter taste according to the quantity, moreover it is a preserving and natural disinfectant.
Remember, however, that for the Italian law, we can’t call it beer, if it doesn’t contain hop!
The production of Italian hop
In the last year, thanks to development of the home brewing in Italy, the micro breweries recorded a greater will to manage independently the production of beer, starting from the base: hop. However, despite the fact that many experimental projects and start-up carried out lots of studies and researches on the theme, the sector hasn’t still taken off.
The studies highlighted the fact that the production of Italian hop can give extra value to our beer with unique characteristics, so that all over the world people can say “ah, this beer is Italian!”
Moreover, it can be just a detail if we think about the fact that this product can create a stronger link between craft beer and the territory or make the supply of hop easier with the possibility to be free from the purchase of foreign hop.
Italian hop, precious ingredient
It could be important to understand, like for the vineyards, where the best species of hop can grow in the best way.
It prefers humid-mild climate and it resists to the cold, in particular it needs some days of heavy cold to give its best in the harvest of the next year. Moreover, it grows better if it is oriented south-north and thus widely exposed to the sun.
In any case it is a cultivation that suits to any surfaces, changing according to the soil. The flowers are picked in August and September, according to the latitudes and they are ripened when they change their body, from humid to a consistency close to the paper. It is ready to be used once that it has been dried.
Beer with Italian hop
The Italian craft beer par excellence, the forefather of any type of craft beer: Birra Baladin, with its founder Teo Musso, has been the first microbrewery in Italy to produce its own hop, in particular to produce the beer to celebrate the 150° of the Italian Unification with its Birra Nazionale. The hop was born thanks to the studies of the brewery itself together with Tecnogranda and Istituto Agrario di Cussanio (Agricoltural Institute of Cussanio) that created the first experimental hop field inside the institute.
This project foresees the creation of a craft beer completely produced by made in Italy raw material, or better Made in Sardinia. Even in this case the cooperation took place between a group of companies, microbreweries and the Department of Agriculture at the University of Sassari.
This start-up is the first in Italy to cultivate hop 100% made in Italy, ready to be sold to the breweries. In September 2017, the first harvest of Italian hop should be ready in its three variants: Futura with herbaceous and hearty aromas, Aemilia that produce herbaceous and spiced, and Mòdna, resinous and herbaceous.