Tuesday’s ad is for Genesee Beer, which was founded in Rochester, New York, originally along the Genesee River, but in 1878 they moved up into Rochester proper. Their Genesee Cream Ale, in the simple green can, was one of our go-to beers when I was in high school. Since 2009, the brewery has been part of North American Breweries. This ad, from 1970, features a can of Genesee Beer next to a full weirdly squat stemmed glass of beer. The background is a hop field near harvest time with the tagline “We do everything to bring you beer.”
Today is apparently the birthday of Hildegard of Bingen (September 16, 1098-September 17, 1179). I say “apparently,” because record keeping from the 11th century is notoriously unreliable. Though most accounts of her life that do include a date for her birth list it as September 16, so it at least seems somewhat agreed upon despite there being no specific source cited for that date’s accuracy. So I’ll go with that, it’s better to have some reason to celebrate her life that none at all. Anyway, Hildegard of Bingen “was a German Benedictine abbess, writer, composer, philosopher, Christian mystic, visionary, and polymath. She is considered to be the founder of scientific natural history in Germany,” and perhaps most importantly, from my point of view, is credited with one of the earliest mentions of hops in beer. As a result, she is generally considered to be the patron saint of hop-growers, although this designation appears to be largely unofficial. Her feast day is actually tomorrow, September 17 — the day of her death — which is fairly common with the Catholic Church and their saints’ feast days.
Although she was beatified in 1326 by Pope John XXII, she was not actually canonized until May of 2012. At that time, Pope Benedict XVI also named her a Doctor of the Church, only the fourth woman to receive that designation. None of the catholic sources I looked at online reveal any patronages for her, apart from the town of Eibingen, where her abbey was located, who made her their patron saint in 1900. And a few sources, though again all non-catholic, mention her as being a patron saint of gardeners, too, and a single source saying she was a patron of musicians, artists and even human potential. All of the sources for her being the patron of hop-growers appear to be from beer-related sources, so I have to conclude that like Gambrinus, her patronage is more symbolic than official.
She did mention hops in her writings, though not in 1079 (31 years before being born) as a well-known quote insists, despite being debunked as long ago as 1911. Here’s what she did say, best explained by Martyn Cornell in his article, A short history of hops:
About 1150, Abbess Hildegard of Bingen (1098-1179), mystical philosopher and healer, published a book called Physica Sacra, which translates best as “The Natural World”. Book I, Chapter 61, “De Hoppho”, or “Concerning the hop”, says of the plant: “It is warm and dry, and has a moderate moisture, and is not very useful in benefiting man, because it makes melancholy grow in man and makes the soul of man sad, and weighs down his inner organs. But yet as a result of its own bitterness it keeps some putrefactions from drinks, to which it may be added, so that they may last so much longer.”
By itself this does not prove hops were used in beer, just “in drinks” (in potibus in Hildegard’s original Latin). But in a later chapter, on the ash tree, the abbess wrote: “If you also wish to make beer from oats without hops, but just with grusz [gruit], you should boil it after adding a very large number of ash leaves. That type of beer purges the stomach of the drinker, and renders his heart [literally ‘chest’ or ‘breast’] light and joyous.” Clearly Hildegard knew about brewing beer with hops. The passage also suggests that Hildegard knew about boiling wort, without which just adding hops is not much help in keeping away “putrefactions”.
Here’s her profile, from Catholic Saints:
At a time when few women wrote, Hildegard produced major works of theology and visionary writings. When few women were respected, she was consulted by and advised bishops, popes, and kings. She used the curative powers of natural objects for healing, and wrote treatises about natural history and the medicinal uses of plants, animals, trees and stones. She is the first musical composer whose biography is known. She founded a vibrant convent, where her musical plays were performed. Interest in this extraordinary woman was initiated by musicologists and historians of science and religion. Unfortunately, Hildegard’s visions and music have been hijacked by the New Age movement; New Age music bears some resemblance to Hildegard’s ethereal airs. Her story is important to students of medieval history and culture, and an inspirational account of an irresistible spirit and vibrant intellect overcoming social, physical, cultural, gender barriers to achieve timeless transcendence.
Hildegard was the tenth child born to a noble family. As was customary with the tenth child, which the family could not count on feeding, and who could be considered a tithe, she was dedicated at birth to the Church. The girl started to have visions of luminous objects at the age of three, but soon realized she was unique in this ability and hid this gift for many years.
At age eight her family sent Hildegard to an anchoress named Jutta to receive a religious education. Jutta was born into a wealthy and prominent family, and by all accounts was a young woman of great beauty who had spurned the world for a life decided to God as an anchoress. Hildegard’s education was very rudimentary, and she never escaped feelings of inadequacy over her lack of schooling. She learned to read Psalter in Latin, but her grasp of Latin grammar was never complete (she had secretaries help her write down her visions), but she had a good intuitive feel for the intricacies of the language, constructing complicated sentences with meanings on many levels and which are still a challenge to students of her writing. The proximity of the Jutta’s anchorage to the church of the Benedictine monastery at Disibodenberg exposed Hildegard to religious services which were the basis for her own musical compositions. After Jutta’s death, when Hildegard was 38 years of age, she was elected the head of the budding convent that had grown up around the anchorage.
During the years with Jutta, Hildegard confided of her visions only to Jutta and a monk named Volmar, who was to become her lifelong secretary. However, in 1141 a vision of God gave Hildegard instant understanding of the meaning of religious texts. He commanded her to write down everything she would observe in her visions.
And it came to pass…when I was 42 years and 7 months old, that the heavens were opened and a blinding light of exceptional brilliance flowed through my entire brain. And so it kindled my whole heart and breast like a flame, not burning but warming…and suddenly I understood of the meaning of expositions of the books…
Yet Hildegard was also overwhelmed by feelings of inadequacy and hesitated to act.
But although I heard and saw these things, because of doubt and low opinion of myself and because of diverse sayings of men, I refused for a long time a call to write, not out of stubbornness but out of humility, until weighed down by a scourge of god, I fell onto a bed of sickness.
Though she never doubted the divine origin of her visions, Hildegard wanted them to be approved by the Church. She wrote to Saint Bernard who took the matter to Pope Eugenius who exhorted Hildegard to finish her writings. With papal imprimatur, Hildegard finished her first visionary work Scivias (“Know the Ways of the Lord“) and her fame began to spread through Germany and beyond.
The 12th century was also the time of schisms and religious confusion when anyone preaching any outlandish doctrine could attract a large following. Hildegard was critical of schismatics, and preached against them her whole life, working especially against the Cathari.
Franciscan Media has yet another account:
Abbess, artist, author, composer, mystic, pharmacist, poet, preacher, theologian—where to begin describing this remarkable woman?
Born into a noble family, she was instructed for ten years by the holy woman Blessed Jutta. When Hildegard was 18, she became a Benedictine nun at the Monastery of Saint Disibodenberg. Ordered by her confessor to write down the visions that she had received since the age of three, Hildegard took ten years to write her Scivias (Know the Ways). Pope Eugene III read it and in 1147 encouraged her to continue writing. Her Book of the Merits of Life and Book of Divine Works followed. She wrote over 300 letters to people who sought her advice; she also composed short works on medicine and physiology, and sought advice from contemporaries such as Saint Bernard of Clairvaux.
Hildegard’s visions caused her to see humans as “living sparks” of God’s love, coming from God as daylight comes from the sun. Sin destroyed the original harmony of creation; Christ’s redeeming death and resurrection opened up new possibilities. Virtuous living reduces the estrangement from God and others that sin causes.
Like all mystics, she saw the harmony of God’s creation and the place of women and men in that. This unity was not apparent to many of her contemporaries.
Hildegard was no stranger to controversy. The monks near her original foundation protested vigorously when she moved her monastery to Bingen, overlooking the Rhine River. She confronted Emperor Frederick Barbarossa for supporting at least three antipopes. Hildegard challenged the Cathars, who rejected the Catholic Church claiming to follow a more pure Christianity.
Between 1152 and 1162, Hildegard often preached in the Rhineland. Her monastery was placed under interdict because she had permitted the burial of a young man who had been excommunicated. She insisted that he had been reconciled with the Church and had received its sacraments before dying. Hildegard protested bitterly when the local bishop forbade the celebration of or reception of the Eucharist at the Bingen monastery, a sanction that was lifted only a few months before her death.
In 2012, Hildegard was canonized and named a Doctor of the Church by Pope Benedict XVI.
Pope Emeritus Benedict spoke about Hildegard of Bingen during two of his general audiences in September 2010. He praised the humility with which she received God’s gifts and the obedience she gave Church authorities. He praised the “rich theological content” of her mystical visions that sum up the history of salvation from creation to the end of time.
During his papacy, Pope Benedict XVI said, “Let us always invoke the Holy Spirit, so that he may inspire in the Church holy and courageous women like Saint Hildegard of Bingen, who, developing the gifts they have received from God, make their own special and valuable contribution to the spiritual development of our communities and of the Church in our time.”
And finally, Women’s History Month chose her as their woman of Day 29, with this irreverent take on her life:
Hildegard was born to middle-class German parents somewhere around 1098, and was the youngest of many children. Despite the fact that she was a sickly child, she claimed to have visions from God. Due to this (and probably also for political reasons), her family put her into a monastery as a child and she became a nun. There, she learned to read, write, and transcribe music, and quickly became a respected member of the nuns’ community.
When the Magistra of the nuns died, Hildegard was unanimously elected to replace her. The Abbott of the monastery asked her to be Prioress, but she knew this would mean she would be directly under his jurisdiction and control. So, she told him she would, if the women could branch off and have their own monastery in the nearby town of Rupertsberg. She told him this idea came to her in one of her visions from God. He refused, so she went into a state of paralysis, and it was determined that paralysis was a sign of anger from God because of the Abbott’s refusal. Only when the Abbott himself tried and failed to move Hildegard’s frozen body did he grant her request. Hildegard ran her monastery like a boss and was soon able to open a second monastery in Eibingen.
As Hildegard became more and more educated, she began writing pretty much everything you can think of. Illuminated texts, historical chronicles, two volumes on medicine, scientific texts, plays, anthologies of songs, and more. She also kept all of her correspondence, which is now one of the largest sets of letters still in existence in the middle ages, and wrote detailed accounts of her divine visions that were approved by Pope Eugenius.
Most importantly, around 1151 she wrote the first known morality play (with music!): Ordo Virtutum. It tells the story of a Soul, and the Soul’s struggle between accepting the 17 Virtues and going to heaven, or being tempted by the Devil and going to hell. It’s the only Medieval musical manuscript to survive history with both its text and music intact. The Soul (strong female lead, am I right?) and 17 Virtues are all played by women, and the only male role is the Devil, who can only communicate in grunts and screams. Hildegard says that he’s not capable of divine harmony. Coincidence, or early feminism?
As if that wasn’t enough, she then invented her own alphabet and language for her nuns to use with each other. Just because she’s awesome.
All the while, she claimed that she was unlearned and unintelligent. That way, men would take her interactions with divine spirit seriously, because they believed her to be too dumb to make them up on her own. A girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do.
When she died in 1179, her sisters swore that two beams of light shot down from the sky.
Her Sainthood status was debated for hundreds of years, but in 2012, Pope Benedict XVI made it official. Out of 35 Saints, only 4 women have ever been granted the title “Doctor of the Church” by the Pope.
Oh, and she has a plant genus named after her, thanks to her contributions to herbal medicine – Hildegardia. And a planet. A fucking planet. See you all on Planet 898 Hildegard where we start our new feminist colony.
She was an amazing artist as well, and her books were all illustrated with drawings and art that looks a lot like Indian mandalas, like this one about “the Cycle of the Seaons” from the Scivas, a book describing 26 religious visions she experienced.
If you made it through all of the accounts of her life, including her Wikipedia page, one thing you’ll notice is that none of them mention her contribution to the brewing sciences, or indeed anything about her mention of hops. That appears to be a more modern interpretation, though I’m not sure of its origin. One thing seems clear, however, and that it’s an association that here to stay.
In addition to her writing on many subjects, she also wrote liturgical music. Here is one of the works she composed, “Antiphon; O quam mirabilis est,” which is essential a hymn entitled “Oh, how wonderful.”
Today is Ralph Olson’s 67th birthday. Ralph was the general manager/co-owner of HopUnion, a co-op that supplies hops to many of the craft breweries. Ralph’s pretty much retired but can still be seen at occasional beer events throughout the country. He’s been a good friend to and very supportive of the craft beer industry. Join me in wishing Ralph a very happy birthday.
Dave Keene, from the Toronado, Dave Pyle, Ralph and Becky Pyle, who are also with HopUnion, along with my friend Dave Suurballe.
Monday’s ad is for Carling’s Red Cap Ale, from 1960. In this ad, showing a stained glass window with a red cap, along with a mug of beer and a bottle of Red Cap Ale. But it’s the tagline that stands out: “It’s All A Matter Of Humulus Lupulus*.” It’s certainly interesting to see a nearly 60-year-old ad singing the praises of hop flavor, saying their beer “is laced with more of those tangy, aromatic hops” and further describing it as a “bold, brawny, body-full brew with a taste you remember.”
Thursday’s ad is a trade ad, by the United States Brewing Industry Foundation, from 1940. After prohibition ended, the industry started doing PSA-type ads in an attempt to create goodwill for beer and brewers. They would later go on to do a fairly sophisticated series of ads between 1946 and 1956, known unofficially as Beer Belongs. Officially, they were “The Home Life in America” series, consisting of 120 ads, with a new ad running in major periodicals each month. Last year, for my Beer in Ads series, I featured every one of them. But in the years before that, the U.S. Brewing Industry Foundation (a precursor to the original Brewer’s Association) dabbled with a variety of similar ads promoting the industry as a whole. These were especially popular during World War 2, and in fact they even won an award from the government for some of these ads. Most of the ads were black and white, although a few were in color, though usually in a minimal way, with a few colors accented rather than being in full color.
In this ad, it’s another one labelled as part of a series entitled “THE RECORD … Facts That Concern You.” As I mentioned yesterday, I’m unsure just how many were actually created and published but this one provides a clue. In the upper right-hand corner it says that this ad is “No 21 of a series,” so that suggests there were at least that many ads of this type. The ad describes hops by stating “Hops are for flavor. They give to good beer and ale their lively, appetizing flavor, their pleasant, aromatic tang.” Hard to argue with that.
It’s hard to believe the Bulletin has been going for over ten years, just over eleven to be exact (not including on the family blog from a couple of years before that). But this post is from exactly ten years ago, in 2007, and I was reminded of it yesterday when a homebrew blogger linked to it in a discussion of hop utilization. Anyway, it was interesting to see again, and since it was exactly a decade, I thought I’d post Hunt’s Hop Tea again. It is, coincidentally, National Hot Tea Day today. Enjoy.
A few weeks ago while helping Moonlight with their hop harvest, owner/brewer Brian Hunt broke out something I’d never seen before: hop tea. Now I’ve seen regular hop tea before, I’ve even bought some at the health food store and tried it, but this was something totally different. Brian told me the idea grew out of an experiment he was doing to see how hops reacted at different temperatures, which he presented at “Hop School” a few years ago. He discovered in the process that he could make a delicious hop tea and that it varied widely depending on the temperature of the water. Here’s how it works:
- Put approximately two-dozen fresh hop cones in a 16 oz. mason jar.
- Heat water to __X__ temperature.
- Fill jar with heated water and seal cap.
- Let the water come down to ambient room temperature.
There appears to be four main factors that change depending on the temperature of the water. These are:
Intrigued by all of this and quite curious, Brian brought out seven examples of his hop tea made with water of different temperatures: 60°, 120°, 130°, 140°, 160°, 180° and 185°. They’re shown above from lower to higher temperature, left to right.
As you can see, the lower the temperature, the more green the hops are and the water remains less cloudy. At the higher temperatures, the hops are stripped of their green, becoming brown, and the water also becomes more brown. Also, as the temperature increases, the hops lose their buoyancy and begin to sink in the water. Although you can’t see it in the photo, the hotter the water, the more hop bitterness and at the upper range, tannins begin to emerge. Here’s what I found:
- 60°: Fresh, herbal aromas with some hop flavors, but it’s light.
- 120°: Bigger aromas, less green more vegetal flavors.
- 130°: Also big aromas emerging, flavors beginning to become stronger, too, but still refreshingly light.
- 140°: More pickled, vinegary aroma, no longer subtle with biting hop character and strong flavors.
- 160°: Very big hop aromas with strong hop flavors, too, with a touch of sweetness. Tannins are becoming evident but are still restrained.
- 180°: Big hop and vinegary aromas, with flavors becoming too astringent and tannins becoming overpowering.
- 185°: Vinegary aromas, way too bitter and tannins still overpowering.
Trying each of the tea samples with Tim Clifford, now owner of Sante Adairius.
Brian was kind enough to let me take a small bag of fresh hops with me so I could recreate his experiment at home. I had enough for four samples and made tea at 100°, 140° and 160°. Using two dozen hop cones made the jars look light so I used three-dozen in the last jar, also using 160° water. I tasted them with my wife, hoping to get a civilian opinion, too. Here’s what we found:
- 100°: Hops still green and floating. The nose was very vegetal and reminded my wife of the water leftover in the pot after you’ve steamed vegetables like broccoli or Brussels sprouts. The mouthfeel is somewhat gritty with light, refreshing flavors and only a little bitterness, which dissipates quickly.
- 140°: Hops turned brown, but still floating. Light hop aromas with some smokey, roasted aromas and even a hint of caramel. Fresh hop flavors with a clean finish. My wife, however, made that puckering bitter face signaling she found it repugnant.
- 160°: Hops turned brown, but most has sunk to the bottom of the jar. Strong hop aromas and few negatives, at least from my point of view. My wife was still making that face, cursing me for dragging her into this. Hop bitterness had become more pronounced and tannins were now evident, with a lingering finish.
- 160° Plus: This sample had 50% more hops. The hops had also turned brown but, curiously, they were still floating. The nose was vegetal with string hop aromas. With a gritty mouthfeel, the flavors were even more bitter covering the tannins just slightly, but they were still apparent, and the finish lingered bitterly.
It seems like either 140° or 160° is the right temperature. Lower than that and you don’t get enough hop character (I’m sure that’s why the hops remain green) but above that the tannins become too pronounced. It appears you have to already like big hop flavor or you’ll hate hop tea. I found it pretty enjoyable and even refreshing though it’s still probably best in small amounts. You do seem to catch a little buzz off of it, which doesn’t hurt. I’m sure the amount of hops is important and more research may be needed on that front. Brian tells me that hop pellets can also be used though I doubt the jar of tea looks as attractive using them. They have the advantage of being available year-round, of course. If you use pellets, you need only about a half-ounce for each pint jar.
If you try to make Hunt’s Hop Tea on your own, please let me know your results. And please do raise a toast to Brian Hunt’s ingenuity.
Today in 1940, US Patent 2226009 A was issued, an invention of George E. Miller, assigned to the Clemens Horst Company, for his “Hop Separator.” There’s no Abstract, although in the description it includes these claims:
This invention relates to a separator. and especially to a machine for separating stems, leaves and like foreign material from picked hops.
Today in 1871, US Patent 2064748 A was issued, an invention of George Arthur Hinds, for his “Machine For Plucking Hops.” There’s no Abstract, although in the description it includes these claims:
This invention has for its object to provide an improved machine for plucking hops, that is to say for detaching the flowers or cones from the main parts of the plants (commonly termed vines or bines).
The invention comprises, for use in such a machine, a plucker in the form of a comb-like device having notches adapted to be engaged by only the thinner stems of the plants, namely those attached to or in the immediate neighbourhood of the flowers.
The invention also comprises the combination of a plurality of the aforesaid pluckers, movable means on which the pluckers are mounted, means for suspending the hop plants in the inverted condition adjacent to the pluckers, and means for producing relative movements between the pluckers and plants.
In particular the invention comprises the combination of an endless conveyor, pluckers as aforesaid carried on this conveyor, an overhead conveyor fitted with means from which the hop plants can be suspended, the second conveyor being movable in a line parallel with a plane containing the working side of the plucker conveyor, and means for reciprocating or swinging the hop plants towards and away from the working side of the plucker conveyor.
Further the invention comprises the combination with plucker and plant conveyors, of means for producing an air stream whereby the plants are moved towards the pluckers, and means for intermittently interrupting the air stream.
Today in 1871, US Patent 121902 A was issued, an invention of Jacob Seeger and John Boyd, for their “Improvement in Preserving and Using Hops in Brewing.” There’s no Abstract, although in the description it includes these claims:
It is well known that the active principle of hops is soon dissipated and the flavor changed or lost upon exposure to atmospheric action, and that, therefore, fresh hops command in the market two or three fold the price of hops grown the year previous. They are also readily injured by dampness, and their shipment by water is, therefore, attended with risk.
We propose by grinding or otherwise pulverizing the hops, and by then packing the same in air-tight packages to secure the following advantages in an improved article of manufacture and trade: First, the bulk is reduced at least fifty per cent. in packing the hops after being pulverized. Second, the hops pulverized and packed in air-tight vessels or packages may be stored for an indefinite length of time without deterioration as to quality, weight, or flavor. Third, the expense and labor of transportation is greatly reduced. Fourth, hops pulverized and packed in air-tight packages may be transported by Water-carriage without risk or damage by dampness. For the purpose of retail trade the pulverized hops are packed in cans or packages holding a pound, more or less, while for the convenience of large consumers, breweries, &c., the packages may be boxes or barrels. In packing pulverized hops the contents of an ordinary bale may be reduced to the dimensions of a flour-barrel, and, therefore, the labor of handling and the expense of transportation will be proportionately reduced.
The large consumer is enabled by our method to store his years supply without danger of deterioration as to quality, flavor, or weight, and with a material saving as to quantity required and space occupied. The dealer is enabled by our method to handle his hops and to ship them to any market without risk from atmospheric causes or dampness, which now makes a material advance in the price in markets remote from the place of production; or he can hold his stock over and wait an advance in price. This latter fact will tend to equalize prices and relieve the market of a glut at one time or a dearth at another.
Today in 1885, US Patent 331873 A was issued, an invention of Murray H. Durst, for his “Baling Press.” There’s no Abstract, although in the description it includes these claims:
My invention relates to certain improvements in balling-presses; and it consists in certain details of construction, power, and means of application, all of which will be more fully described by reference to the accompanying drawings, in which- Figure 1 is a general view of the press. Fig. 2 shows the lower part of the press with the door closed. Fig. 3 is a view of the mechanism for raising and lowering the follower. Fig. 4 is a section of the same. Fig. 5 is a vertical section of the press.
This press is especially designed for the pressing of hops, and is preferably so built that the upper end of the vertical case or box A will be on a level with or under the floor upon which the hops are contained, while the lower end, having discharge-doors B, communicates with the floor below. The follower C fits the press-box A, and has arms D extend ing Vertically upward from it and hinged to a crossbar, E, the ends of which are strongly secured to the vertical timbers F. These timbers move in vertical guides G, as shown, and when drawn down will force the follower down to the bottom of the press-box, and when raised will elevate it, so that when it arrives at a point just above the top of the box and the level of the floor with which it communicates the follower will be swung to one side about the hinges by which its supporting-timbers D are connected with the transverse bar E, before described.