You are here

Winter 2013 Depth of Field

Flower power
Girls rule if you’re a hop. Only female plants produce the pine cone-looking flowers that give beer its flavor, aroma, and bitter bite. “Females do all the work,” says OSU’s hops breeder, Shaun Townsend. Almost 1,500 of these lovely ladies are spiraling skyward at OSU’s hop field near Corvallis. It’s here that the hops doc is shaking up the gene pool, hoping to create varieties that will knock the socks off microbrewers who are in search of unique-smelling hops beyond the classic citrus. He sprinkles their young flowers with pollen, nurtures their offspring, then keeps the ones that resist diseases, boast high yields, and have desirable fragrances.
Lynn Ketchum