The History of Hops

The first documented hop cultivation was in 736, in the Hallertau region of present-day Germany, although the first mention of the use of hops in brewing in that country was 1079. However, in a will of Pepin the Short,, the father of Charlemagne, 768 hop gardens were left to the Cloister of Saint-Denis. Not until the 13th century did hops begin to start threatening the use of Gruit for flavoring. Gruit was used when taxes were levied by the nobility on hops. Whichever was taxed made the brewer then quickly switch to the other. In Britain, hopped beer was first imported from Holland around 1400, yet hops were condemned as late as 1519 as a ‘wicked and pernicious weed’. In 1471, Norwich, England, banned use of the plant in the brewing of ale (‘beer’ was the name for fermented malt liquors bittered with hops; only in recent times are the words often used as synonyms). Hops used in England were imported from France, Holland and Germany with import duty paid for those; it was not until 1524 that hops were first grown in the southeast of England (Kent) when they were introduced as an agricultural crop by Dutch farmers. Therefore, in the hop industry there are many words which originally were Dutch words (Oast House). Hops were then grown as far north as Aberdeen, near breweries for infrastructure convenience. It was another century before hop cultivation began in the present-day United States, in 1629 by English and Dutch farmers. Before national alcohol prohibition, cultivation was mainly centered around New York, California, Oregon, and Washington.