"The culture of the hop, with the processes of picking, drying in the kiln, and packing for the market, as well as the uses to which it is applied, so analogous to the culture and uses of the grape, may afford a theme for future poets." Thoreau
I thoroughly agree with Thoreau on this matter, as I usually do, the hop definitely deserves far more romantic attention than it gets, a call to all poets!
On another note, his comparison got me thinking about the ongoing beer versus wine debate and which is a better suited companion to good food. Having worked in the craft beer industry, I've had to sit through more "beer is better" speeches than I care to remember and honestly, I've yet to be convinced. I should say that my stubbornness in the matter is not rooted in a lack of love for beer, I truly do love it, nor is it based on a preference for wine, I truly am a novice drinker of it, but rather for my impatience with circular logic. The question of whether or not beer or wine is better makes no sense to me, like a snake eating its own tail, they are one in the same! They are both fruits of the Earth, medicinal and tasty, both perfectly paired with a meal, their only difference is form.
But the beerfolk will tell you that beer is more diverse in flavor, given the roastiness of the malt and mostly because of the uniqueness of the hop (ironically unique in fact, the list of flavors that pair well with it is pretty short). And the winefolk will lean on sophistication, both of person and palate, snobbishly refusing to join the conversation, scoffing at a newfound friend to food in this country. And the debate goes on...
Meanwhile, the beer list still pales in comparison to the wine list, and none of us are better for it.
So I say to the beerfolk, stop putting wine down and start bringing beer up! And to the winefolk...be cooler.