Portal:Beer/Selected article/3

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The flower of the hops plant
Hops are a flavouring and stability agent in beer. The first documented use in beer is from the eleventh century. Hops comes from the flowers of Humulus lupulus, and contain several characteristics very favorable to beer:
  1. hops contribute a bitterness that balances the sweetness of the malt,
  2. hops also contribute aromas which range from flowery to citrus to herbal and,
  3. hops have an antibiotic effect that favours the activity of brewer's yeast over less desirable microorganisms.

While hop plants are grown by farmers all around the world in many different varieties, there is no major commercial use for hops other than in beer. Today, the principal production centers for the UK are in Kent (which produces Kent Golding hops) and Worcestershire. Other important production areas include the state of Washington in the USA, Belgium, Germany, and the Czech Republic.

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