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16.000 x 20.000 x 0.500 inches
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Alexandra Ortiz de Fargher
Painting - Oil On Canvas
As a craft beer enthusiast, hops, beer and beer making are a subject of interest. In this painting I was aiming to create an abstract or rather figurative representation of a hop plant that portrayed the richness of flavor that hops add to the beer.
Hops are a key ingredient in beer making so I wanted to make this the centerpiece of the work. I relate beer to light hearted mood, relaxing, and enjoying friends - all times of good cheer, so I've chosen bright colors to represent these aspects.
Hops, the flower of Humulus Lupulus, is sometimes referred to as seed conesor strobiles. Hops have a bitter flavor which is perfect for balancing the sweetness of the malts used to brew beer. They also have antibacterial properties which keep undesirable bacteria and airborne yeasts strains from fermenting the beer while not affecting brewer's yeast.
The flavors and aromas that hops impart on the beer include "grassy", "floral", "citrus", "spicy", "piney", "lemony", "grapefruit", and "earthy" notes. As with grapes used in wine making, the location where the hops are grown affect the hop characteristics. Certain hop varieties are best suited for a special type of beer. For example, Noble hop varieties, which are usually low in bitterness and high in aroma, are typically used in lagers and pilsners. Just like certain grapes are only grown in certain areas so are hops. For a hop to be considered a noble hop, for example, it must be grown in the area where the race of hop was named. Tettnang, a Noble hop, comes from Tettnang, a small town in southern Germany.
Hops grow in moist temperate climates similar to potatoes but in soils that are rich in boron. Germany's Hallertau valley, is the leading producer of hops followed by the US's pacific North West. North American hop farmers have helped to fuel the craft beer movement by developing a host of new varieties.
Hops originated in China then traveled east and west. While, beer making dates back to the ancient Egyptians, documentation of hops being used in brewing dates to the age of Charlamagne. Medevil Europeans began to drink beer instead of water since they knew nothing about water purification but beer appeared to not make them sick while water sometimes did.
Other than in beer making, hops are used by herbalists as a treatment for anxiety, restlessness, and insomnia. A pillow filled with hops is a popular folk remedy for sleeplessness. So, if you need to relax and get a good night's sleep, drink a little more beer.
February 24th, 2013
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