Part 1 of my series on neomexicanus hops.
Humulus lupulus: the brewer’s favorite flowering plant. Its pungent flowers, commonly referred to as hops, are responsible for the signature bitterness in beer and contribute a complex bouquet of flavors though concentrations of myrcene, humulene, xanthohumol, myrcenol, linalool, tannins, and resin. Though the lupulus variety takes up the lion’s share of the homebrewer’s attention, you might be surprised to discover there are actually five distinct varieties of the plant (six, if you include hybrids):
- cordifolius – Eastern Asia and Japan
- lupulus – Europe, Asia, and Africa
- neomexicanus – Western North America
- pubescens – Midwestern US
- lupuloides (aka americanus) – Eastern and northern North America
As a follower of Stan Hieronymus’ blog I was recently tipped-off to the fact that a monastery in New Mexico has successfully cultivated and is selling homebrew-sized batches of neomexicanus hops from their website. Though they are perhaps the most expensive hops I have ever purchased–$50 for six ounces–like any good homebrewer my desire for experimentation knows no limits! I’ll be writing more about the beers I make with the neomexicanus hops, but since the variety is new to the homebrew and even professional brewing scenes I thought I’d do a bit of research and share the details.