Relevance of hop terroir for beer flavor (J. Inst. Brew.)

Beer is a simple beverage, basically fermented barley sugars. But recently, it’s been all about the hops. Hops are buds of Humulus lupulus, a member of the Cannabaceae family, and from humble origins they have been carefully bred and selected, resulting in many varieties with different aroma and flavor characteristics. “Terroir” is a term usually associated with wines, and refers to how the environment in which grapes are grown, from soil types to rainfall and temperature, affects the flavor of the wine. Here, Van Holle et al. explore the relevance of terroir for beer flavor. Not unexpectedly, the authors found that growing region affects the characteristics of beer made from  genetically identical hops varieties – a classic example of the gene x environment (GxE) interaction effects on hop chemistry. Given the tremendous recent growth in beer connoisseurship, I wonder if we won’t soon be seeing vintages associated with our favorite craft beers. (Summary by Mary Williams @PlantTeaching)  J. Inst. Brew. 10.1002/jib.648