OXFORD – For nearly a thousand years, hops have been utilized as an addition of the three main ingredients of beer – grain, water, and yeast. But this Saturday, Aug. 22, community members are invited to the Oxford Farmers' Market to learn first-hand what the hop fuss is all about.
Arguably the most important factor and variable in the unique flavoring of today's brewed beer, the first documented link between hops and brewing reaches back to 822 AD when a Benedictine abbot wrote a series of statutes pertaining to the operation of the monastery that included gathering sufficient hops for making beer.
Historical evidence suggests that commercial hop cultivation began in northern Germany during the twelfth or thirteenth century, and that the Germans were exporting hopped beer from the thirteenth century onward.
While hops are a relatively new addition to the brewmaster’s toolkit, the need for the now essential flavoring of hop-infused beer led to boom of sorts in upstate New York, and for decades these bitter gems were the largest cash crop in Chenango County.
Fast forward to 2015, and local cultivation and harvesting of Chenango County hops is once again an industry on the rise as the demand for specific varietals of the climbing bine rises to meet the demand of discerning craft breweries popping up throughout much of the U.S.
Sponsored by The Oxford Historical Society, the program will present a display of real hops, hops products, and a focused link between hops, brewing and medicine that may surprise...