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Beer Research Guide: Hops

How to research hops

Hops are the flowers (also called seed cones or strobiles) of the hop plant Humulus lupulus, a member of the Cannabaceae family of flowering plants. Hops need vertical space because the bines may grow 25 feet or more into the air. Hops can grow in most moderate climates, but do best near the 45th parallel (Northern and Southern hemisphere). 

Things to know

In 2013, the OSU Library launched the Oregon Hops and Brewing archives. There are several hops history posts on the Brewstorian blog, including the history of hops in the US and the history of hop barns

 

Recommended archival collections at OSU

 

Recommended reports and OSU publications 

Recommended journals at OSU

  • The Hop Press: A Memorandum of What's Brewin': This newsletter was prepared by Hop Specialist G.R. Hoerner and issued monthly by the Oregon State College Extension Service to provide information on hops and brewing to County Extension Agents in Oregon. This informal publication provides a detailed view of hops growing and production in Oregon and the northwest for this period, as well as information about hops growing in Washington, Idaho, and California. Included are a variety of news items, such as statistics on hop acreage, the costs of production, number of growers, information about industry organizations, summaries and preliminary reports of OSU hops research, news items from newspapers and other publications in Oregon and Washington, agendas for Hop Growers Conferences, and summaries of presentations at these conferences. Learn more about the collection in the online guide.
  • The Hopper (1945-1954) supported the growers, brewers, and related industries with articles about crop forecasts and yields, mechanization and technological advances, pests and diseases, research, health, and membership information. They also contain minutes and reports from various state grower's associations.
  • The Oregon Hop Grower and Pacific Hop Grower (1933-1940) supported the growers, brewers, and related industries with articles about crop forecasts and yields, mechanization and technological advances, pests and diseases, research, health, and membership information. They also contain minutes and reports from various state grower's associations.

There are two books fundamental to research on the history of hops in America:

  • In Hoptopia: A World of Agriculture and Beer in Oregon's Willamette Valley, Dr. Peter Kopp  connects 21st century beer drinkers to lands and histories forgotten in an era of industrial food production. The craft beer revolution of the late 20th century is a remarkable global history that converged in the agricultural landscapes of Oregon's Willamette Valley. The common hop, a plant native to Eurasia, arrived to the Pacific Northwest only in the 19th century, but it thrived in the region's environmental conditions. By the first half of the 20th century the Willamette Valley claimed the title “Hop Center of the World.” Hoptopia integrates an interdisciplinary history of environment, culture, economy, labor, and science through the story of the most indispensable ingredient in beer.
  • In Tinged with Gold: Hop Culture in the United States, Dr. Michael A. Tomlan studies structures related to rural hop farming, examining them in specific socioeconomic and historical contexts. These structures are used as foundations for creating a national narrative of hop farming, one which explores the cultivation and harvesting of the crop. Tinged with Gold offers excellent background on the hop industry, as well as the incredible technological advances that have changed the way farms operate.

Recommended publications