It turns out our great Yakima Valley Hops have help when it comes to flavoring beer.  Growing Hops is big business with a crop value estimated at 380 million dollars according to statistics from a couple of years ago.

Untrained Tastebuds

Our hops are wanted around the world to add the distinctive flavor that beer brewers want but researchers from Washington State University (WSU)  say hops aren’t the only important flavor factor when it comes to craft beers.  (Let's be honest, Cougar kids at WSU know their beer, am I right?)

The study pitted the palettes of 100 craft beer drinkers against an "untrained group"

Question one:  Where do you find untrained beer drinkers in Pullman, Washington? Just kidding, but they did find individuals who weren't beer drinkers so their taste buds were considered untrained.  What can you imagine happened in the test?

The Five Threads Brewing website lists the ingredients of beer as water, malt, hops, yeast, and "you"  meaning the skill and experience of the brewer.

Bring On The Barley

While hops get the credit for the flavoring and rightfully so, the untrained tasters (U-T) could also pick out the unique contribution of the barley.  (In my early 20's we used to refer to beer as "barley pop"- do they still?)

A report from EurekAlert says the WSU research shows the "U-T's"  could taste the difference between five different barley varieties and definitely could easily identify the flavor profiles of the beers.

Study author Kevin Murphy says, “ I don’t know how many people knew about IPAs 20 years ago, and they exploded. Brewers are very innovative, and I am very excited to see where this Barley goes in the future.”

In a real boon to Yakima hops producers, U.S. craft beer drinkers have a love of hop-heavy India Pale Ales, but the results of this study suggests barley malts might be another good way to develop new beers.

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