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BeerSci: Want To Wet-Hop Your Beer? Grow Your Own Fresh Hops

• popsci.com
 A couple of months ago, a colleague asked me if one could grow one's own hops. The answer is an emphatic YES. If you have some space outdoors and something that's tall enough to let the hop plants grow, you can be the proud owner of some homegrown hops.

Hops, as I discussed in an previous column, are a member of the Cannabinaceae family of plants. Hop plants are dioecious, which means that the species has individual male and female plants; for brewing purposes, you only want the female plants, because they're the ones that produce the hop flowers. If you've never seen a hop before, you might not know that the hop plant is a bine -- that's right, bine with a b. Both bines and vines are climbing plants, but whereas vines use tendrils or suckers to hold onto the vertical surface as they grow tall, bines helix their entire stem around the support. You'll want to keep that in mind when you build your hop trellis, and give the bines some room to grow.

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