A Hop by Any Other Name
During the trial years, all the factors that determine if a new hop is a goody or not, are scrutinized with both the farmers and then the brewers in mind. Now that all new varieties of hops are patented, breeders in the private sector stand to make some good money if they strike oil—essential hop oil that is.
Evaluating hops entails doing chemical analysis of its alpha and beta acids to determine its application and efficiency in bittering and imparting aroma. It is then selected based on agronomic factors such as resistance to diseases and pests, how well and big (or small) it grows, which influences the amount of yield (measured in terms of acres) and what is called pickability. Furthermore, storageability is an important aspect since who wants hop cones that will go bad right away? Agronomics are vital to the brewers in that they determine a hop’s price because if it is difficult to grow, produce good yield, pick or store, it’s not economically viable to the grower. Try convincing a family-owned farm to harvest an unprofitable crop.