By Harold McGee
Hops are the dried seed-bearing “cones” of Humulus lupulus, a perennial native of the Northern Hemisphere that is a relative of marijuana and hemp. The hop plant was cultivated in the Hallertau region of Germany by the 8th century, and spread to Flanders by the 14th. Though now used almost exclusively in beer, they also flavor bread and are made into an herbal tea. Hop aroma depends on the variety, and may include woody, floral, and complex sulfur notes. It’s described in more detail in chapter 13.