The power of Hop

Historical notes

The first historical mentions of the power of hopp date back to 760 when, in France, reigned Pepin the Short, and refer to a hop garden near the monastery of Freising, Germany.
In 725, in Weihenstephan, San Corbiniano had founded a monastery with its brewery. The Weihenstephan brewery was the first in the world to have used this plant.
The use of this plant has facilitated the retention and, consequently, has enhanced the possibilities of transporting beer.

The plan of Hop was already known to the ancient Egyptians who used it for its therapeutic properties. Chinese medicine also made use of hop as a digestive remedy and for the treatment of various diseases such as leprosy. In Western culture, only the twelfth century this plant was mentioned as a “remedy of melancholy” for its purifying properties and worming.

The practice of “hops while” the must of beer spread from the XIII century thanks to the precious Sister Hildegard von Bingen studies (1098-1179) of the Abbey of St. Rupert in Germany.
Botany to put in evidence before the important function of hop to stop the rot (decomposition) and therefore “stretch” the life of the beer
The use of hop expanded first in Bohemia and then throughout Gemany and Holland
Only in English territory there was some resistance too and had to wait until the end of the sixteenth century to the complete acceptance of the introduction of hops taken by the Flemish.

When the Romans occupied Britain began using hop for infusions and fermentation of cereals along with other ingredients such as rosemary, myrtle, marjoram, mint, chamomile and hay.
Gradually these ingredients were abandoned in favor of hops instead bought a basic role in the preparation of beer.

Hop became an indispensable ingredient so that Duke Wilhelm IV of Bavaria, in 1516, issued the famous Purity Law, known as the Reinheitsgebot, which imposed to brewers to use only water, barley and hop.

In the literature:

Ugo Foscolo recounted in his “The Last Letters of Jacopo Ortis” the time of the dinner of a family residing in the Venetian countryside, on a warm May evening, with the women intent to serve in soup plates with hops crops in the fields during the afternoon.

The plan of the Hop

The hop plant belongs to the angiosperm, such as hemp (Cannabis Sp.), To the family of Cannabaceae. Its leaves are heart-shaped, petiolate, opposite and equipped with 3-5 lobes serrated. The upper part is rough to the touch, while the lower part is resinous. The flowers are greenish and gathered in pendulous panicles. When not being used for the production of beer, it is a weed, covered with a stinging hair that tangles and twists tightly around the hedges and bushes.
In Venetian dialect, the sole of Hops is called “Bruscandolo or vidisone”.

The area of origin

The plan of the Hops is mostly found in northern and grows on the banks of rivers, along the hedges, on the edge of the woods and, if the weather is not too windy and wet, from sea level to an altitude of 1,200 meters.

The season of Hop

The buds of this plant are harvested from March to May.

How to recognize the peaks of Hop?

The tops of hop are harvested in uncultivated areas along rivers, in the midst of the brambles and bushes.
Not to be confused with flowering branches of other plants such as Ornithogalum or of Bethlehem, a genre that has many toxic species.

How to clean the Hop?

Hop should be washed very well under water. It is advisable to also use baking soda.

How to store the Hop?

We recommend using the tops of freshly picked hops; otherwise it can be stored for a few hours while maintaining the bunch in a glass with water.

The use of hop in the kitchen:

in the kitchen using only the apical part of the branch, or the first 10-15 centimeters. The peaks, however, are used for salads, tasty omelets, stuffings, soups.

The Hop

The use of hop in beer

The Hop is used mainly in the production of beer, where it takes on the important role of giving its most common feature, namely the bitter taste, as well as the aroma, very pointed in Pilsner. In the process of beer brewing using the flowers of the female plants. The male plants are not grown as it implements the vegetative reproduction of the only female plants, to keep the characters of selected varieties. Is used in handcrafted flower hop, while in the industrial processing using a concentrated (more convenient and cost-effective). Before hop were used other plants and spices to balance the sweetness of the malt.The use of hops also acts as a natural preservative of beer because it has antibacterial properties; Thanks to these properties, certain types of beer (for example India Pale Ale) were thoroughly hoppy to improve conservation. Furthermore the use of hop helps coagulate the protein in suspension in beer making it clearer.

The properties of Hop:

The properties of the Hops are numerous; below we listed the most important :

The bitter tonic properties of Hop

Traditionally the Hops is used for its action bitter tonic, which makes it a valuable ally in the forms of gastritis nervous counteracting the stomach pains.
The Hops, thanks to its bitter principles, stimulates the appetite and gastric secretions.

The soothing properties of Hop:

The Hops is very effective in cases of nervous anxiety, to calm states of stress, nervousness and anxiety.

The properties for the skin of Hop:

Dust hop has a healing effect, useful to treat sores and wounds. Thanks to its elasticity, purifying and anti-itching, hops is an excellent remedy for wounds, dermatitis and loose skin.


In this period, on 9 and 10 May, the Association Culture and Entertainment berrese organizes Berra, in Ferrara, the 13th World Festival of Bruscandolo, with dinner and the menu Bruscandolo ( see details :

One of our experts propose a fast and delicious recipe with hop.

The Hop

Pearl barley soup, beans and wild hop

200 g dried cannellini (white beans or other small) soaked in water for one night
2 bay leaves
1 clove garlic
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
white onion, chopped
1 bunch of wild hop (bruscandoli) |
50 g of pearl barley
1.5 L of vegetable broth
1 crust of Parmesan cheese
ground black pepper
fine sea salt
1 handful chopped fresh parsley
extra virgin raw

1) Drain the beans, put them in a saucepan covered with cold water along with the bay leaves and the garlic clove.
2) We let them boil and then drain beans, removing the garlic and bay leaf.
3) We heat the oil in a large pot with onion, then add bruscandoli chopped very small (less than the lower end of the stem, which is too fibrous) and fry for few minutes. At this point, we pour the beans and let them simmer, add the farro and finally cover with the hot broth.
4) Dive into the parmesan crust, lower the heat and let the soup bake for twenty minutes, covered, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking. Add more broth if we see that is too dry.
5) After this time, we taste and we put some pepper upon it.
6) We remove the pan from the heat and let the soup stay cold for about twenty minutes, at the end of which we can add the parsley and serve with a drizzle of olive oil.


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