At the Pony, we regularly discuss new products, what we do next. We observe the emergence of non-alc and low-alc beers, the rise and fall of Seltzers, Hard lemonades making headlines and Cocktails in goon bags.
Tastes change, and with less discretionary money, and perhaps a greater conscious of what and how we drink and most of all how much alcohol we consume – drinking behaviour has changed.
We discuss trends, but should Seltzers or hard lemonade, coloured sugary mixtures full of artificial flavours, additives mixed with ethanol and water be a product that we consider making?
Clearly, the answer is NO, for we are Brewers?
We enjoy beer for its taste, its sociability, the fun, and the many conversations that have started and ended over a beer, some place, any place.
Beer has been around for 10,000 years in some form or shape, a drink for without it, pyramids would most likely not have been built and pandemics, including the last one, may have had a worse outcome.
We brew with the base ingredients of Water, Hops, Grain and Yeast. So, where does this leave us for new and exciting products?
Ah, this is where the Hop Water story starts.
In 2022, Frank and I were invited to a Hop harvest in Hallertau, Southern Germany. In case you wonder, about 90% of German Hops is grown there and many new varieties and research about Hops emerge from there.
A Hop harvest is an amazing event. Tall Hop plants are brought in fresh from the fields and the Hop cones are harvested and dried in massive hot air dryers before being sold world-wide.
It was there that one of the Hop farmers offered us a glass of cold steeped Hop Water and this is where we fell in love with the idea of creating a non-alcoholic drink that still contains 2 of the base beer ingredients, namely Water and Hops. A natural, refreshing drink without sugars or colours or other stuff. I little bit of a compromise on our high horse stand on brewing, but one we can live with. Right?
So, what does it taste like?
Hop Water tastes like a beer, just without the grain body. It has gentle Hop flavours, without the Hop bitterness, and it is lightly carbonated to give it refreshment value.
We have finally made it, and it is ready for the summer.
Is Hop Water good for you? You bet! I will post the Hops facts separately or you can find them on our website, BUT if you like to have a super refreshing drink, without discussing it endlessly, none of the facts will be important to you. It will be a simple drink, enjoyed at your leisure, just like you would enjoy one of our beers.
You can purchase the Hop Water at the brewery in Totness, at participating Liquor stores, Independent supermarkets and online via our beer shop.
Hops are tall growing plants that prefer to grow in the 35th and 55th parallels of both hemispheres. They love long days, hot summers and cold winters but don’t like wind too much. The flowers are cone shaped, known as strobiles, which grow on long bines which are flexible with climbing stems and instead of tendrils, they have hair.
Botanically, hop is classified as Humulus lupulus. It belongs to the Cannabaceae family and is related to both, stinging nettles and cannabis. Hops has been used as a beer ingredient since around the 9th century but has been used for thousands of years medicinally in many parts of the world.
There are hundreds of hop varieties and hops contains over 400 oils. The bitter alpha acid humulone, other volatile oils, polyphenols, and flavonoids (plant pigment) make hops one of the most powerful antioxidant.
Hops has been used for centuries to modulate health. Hops have antimicrobial properties, which contribute to their use as a food preservative. Medicinally, hops is used to treat anxiety, insomnia and other sleep disorders, nervousness and restlessness, tension, excitability and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Hops is reported to improve appetite, is used as a bittering tonic to treat indigestion and has been reported to increase urine flow and start the flow of breast milk. Albeit scientific studies are sparce, hops has been reported as an immunoregulator. In foods and beverages, Hops pallets, extracts and oils are used as flavour components and in manufacturing, hop extract is used in skin creams and lotions.
Is Hop Water good for you?
Prancing Pony’s Hop sparkling water is made using Citra and Amarillo Hops applying a cold steeped method. This makes the drink refreshing and brings out the pleasant Hops flavour, without the bitterness while maintaining the active Hops components. Combined with a touch of ascorbic acid (Vit C), the Hop Water imparts a pleasant citrus taste.
With NO alcohol, NO sugar, NO calories, NO colours, NO preservative and light carbonation, the Hop water is super hydrating and can easily become your favourite Non-Beer substitute when you feel like having a beer but are not having a Beer, when being a designated driver or whenever you feel like a refreshing drink without sweetness but with lots of flavour. A full nutritional analysis is available.
Researched and written by Dr Corinna Steeb (CEO Prancing Pony Brewery)