A friend of mine who is a gardner (but neither a beer drinker nor brewer) asked about hops today. She apparently is going to pick some up at Portland Nursery (I had no idea they sold brewing hops--mostly gardners don't care about the cones) and wondered which variety to buy. In that mania for list-making all men have, I have often mused on the five varieties I'd choose if I were stranded on a lush, hop-growing island. (With barley fields and an old abandoned barrel for roasting malt--hey, it's a thought experiment, work with me.) The list is predictable and pretty much maps to the major brewing regions, emphasis on NW (Cascades, Chinooks, Hallertauer, Kent Goldings, Saaz).
But you know, then I think: thank god I don't have to limit myself to just five hop varieties.
(By the way, have a look at the Portland Nursery pdf. I have no idea who put it together, but it wasn't a brewer. Or an Oregonian. Willamettes are "a traditional English ale type.")
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