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Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Roll it out, roll it out, roll out the barrel

Sing a song of good cheer
'Cause the whole gang is here
Roll it out, roll it out
Let's do the beer barrel polka!! 
Da-da-da Da-da Da-da-da ... okay Wednesday Wizards!! 

We have some celebrating to do-da-da!!  
We had 3 Wizards that really knew their brews or Hops, Hahaha!! 
Yep! That green funky looking vine is known as Hops!

hops growing on trellis green and ripe photo image 
full photo from clue

(photos are clickable to make larger. 
Please do not steal, just ask if you would like permission to use.)
I am going to name the 3 Wednesday Wizards before we take a sip of what is all about Hops, this week...

Alicia of A Beautiful Mess (also host of a Wednesday linky) 

Congrats and a tip of the pointy wizard hat again to all 3! Repeat Wizards! 
I will have to start handing out gold stars or something??? 

Hopping back to Hops...

Hops are the female flower clusters (commonly called seed cones or strobiles), of a hop species.They are used primarily as a flavoring and stability agent in beer, to which they impart a bitter, tangy flavor, though hops are also used for various purposes in other beverages and herbal medicine. 

hops on the vine in autumn photo image
 hops on the vine, 
hanging off our spooky tree

Hop flowers contain lupulin glands as well as vegetable matter. The appearance of lupulin is that of a yellowish sticky powder concentrated at the base of each hop leaf.

 photo found online at wikipedia

odd fact: The manufacture of beer utilizes 98% of the world's production of hop. Before the days of pasteurization, brewers used hop for its antibiotic properties as well as its flavor. In some countries the young shoots are eaten as a boiled vegetable.

photo found online

In Britain, hopped beer was first imported from Holland around 1400; but hops were condemned in 1519 as a "wicked and pernicious weed". I wonder if this same kind of "thought" was used back during the U.S.A.s Prohibition period? There was plenty of talk of the evils of liquor?  In 1471, Norwich, England, banned use of the plant in the brewing of beer, and not till 1524 were hops first grown in southeast England. It was another century before hop cultivation began in the present-day United States, in 1629. Another thought, I wonder because of the hops bitter taste if that may of given mind to it being "wicked" ? Anyone else have thoughts on any of this?

spooky tree covered in hops vine photo image
 Totally covered spooky tree

The first documented instance of hop cultivation was in 736. The first documented use of hops in beer as a bittering agent is from the eleventh century. Before this period, brewers used a wide variety of bitter herbs and flowers, including dandelion, burdock root, marigold, horehound (the German name for horehound means "mountain hops"), ground ivy, and heather. Hops are used extensively in brewing for their many purported benefits, including balancing the sweetness of the malt with bitterness, contributing a variety of desirable flavors and aromas, and having an antibiotic effect that favors the activity of brewer's yeast over less desirable microorganisms.

The hop plant is a vigorous climbing herbaceous perennial, usually trained to grow up strings in a field called a hopfield, hop garden, (or spooky tree!) or hop yard when grown commercially. Many different types of hops are grown by farmers around the world, with different types being used for particular styles of beer. Tall stings for tall vines!

picking hops the old fashion way, 
on stilts off of trellised hop vines
(image found online)

Hops typically grows in the same kind of climate as does grapes.
odd facts: Male and female flowers of the hop plant develop on separate plants. Because viable seeds are undesirable for brewing beer, only female plants are grown in hopfields which prevents pollination; female plants are propagated vegetatively or male plants are culled if plants are grown from seeds. Hhumm, who likes to drink beer the most? Bad boys!☺  

Medicinal Action and Uses ??
 Hops have tonic, nervine, diuretic and anodyne properties. Their volatile oil produces sedative and soporific effects, and the Lupamaric acid or bitter principle is stomach and tonic. For this reason Hops improve the appetite and promote sleep. 
Early on in Europe, history shows that people who plucked the hops fruit seemed to tire out easily, this was probably due to the accidental transfer of some of the hop resin in the hands to the mouths of the workers - this sedative action of the herb was the reason for its use in herbal medication, and a sedative action has traditionally been associated with the hops. Traditionally, herbalist treated sleeplessness and other nervous conditions in patients by making them use pillows stuffed with the dried hops (sounds like a good idea). The hops was also associated with an ability to reduce inflammation in the body, thus a small bag of hops soaked in alcohol and placed after heating on an afflicted area, is said to lead to a reduction in the localized inflammation affecting the area. (I may have to try this!) Herbal tonics made from the aqueous extracts of hops using boiling water have also been traditionally used. I wonder if they make interesting kitty toys as well (a cat-nip substitute?)???

Time out for a joke ~

A string walks into a bar, hops on the bar stool, and says, "Bartender, gimme a beer." The bartender says, "I'm sorry sir, we don't serve strings here." 
 Disappointed, the string hops down from the stool and goes to the next bar. He hops on the bar stool and says, again, "Bartender, gimme a beer." The bartender says, "I'm sorry sir, we don't serve strings here." 
The string continues down the row of bars in this fashion. At every bar, he hops on the barstool and says, "Bartender, gimme a beer." Each time, "I'm sorry sir, we don't serve strings here." 
Finally he gets to the last bar in the area. He's tired, he's sweaty, all he wants is a beer. He trudges inside, climbs on the barstool, and says, "Bartender, gimme a beer." The bartender says, "I'm sorry, sir, we don't serve strings here." 
Really T'd- off, the string walks outside to think. He's a hard-working string. He deserves a beer. Finally, he comes up with an idea! He twists himself up and musses up his hair, then heads back into the bar. "Bartender, gimme a beer!" Bartender says, "Hey, aren't you that string that was in here a few minutes ago?" The string says, "Nope, I'm a frayed knot."

Was that a groaner or what??☺
Sorry, I just had to sneak it in here.

One last bit of important knowledge on hops before I show you next weeks clue...


The hops (and botanical family) in beer are responsible for an unfortunate condition in men known in German herbal medicine as "beer drinker's droop," or erectile dysfunction (ED). Avoiding excessive consumption of beer or hops helps men retain potency. This over-consumption (in relation to ED- et al) can be said of many other things as well.

odd fact: Botanically speaking, hops is a cousin to stinging nettles and marijuana, for this reason, some clinical writers suggest smoking the plant material to help induce a state of mild euphoria. Smoking the hops is not recommended, as similar to other types of smoke unpleasant side effects are frequently experienced, and the safety associated with smoking hops or smoking itself is questionable and unhealthy.

Remember: I am not a doctor, nor claim to be any medical professional. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. It is provided for your entertainment and a bit of education thrown in.☺

Now for this weeks puzzler...

wizard clue image

or is this better? 
wizards clue image

Put on those thinking caps! 

Mr. Linky will be below for all that like to link up with the the mid-week memes. I thank you again for stopping and playing along and leaving all your great and funny and educational speculations!


       Until next time
Keep your eyes open,
as well as your mind!

All photos are clickable to make larger. 
Please do not steal, just ask if you would like permission to use.


  1. Anonymous9:41 PM

    I learned a lot from this post. I especially think the hop leaf look quite interesting.

  2. That truly was a groaner, but it made me laugh just the same. Kind of the "saw it coming but it still hit me" kind of laugh.

  3. sure is educational but i suck at guessing. :os

    ~ash's mum

  4. From this to this...that is so very odd, isn't it?? As for this week, honestly, the first thing that came to my mind was foam insulation, you know that stuff in a can LOL...but I could be way off base, cause it also looks like sponge toffee lol! Happy WW!

  5. Anonymous10:41 PM

    Interesting post! I think it is some type of squash for next week. Happy WW!

  6. Wow, thanks for the info. I have never seen hops before. We grow a lot of grapes here in the valley, but no hops.

    That is definitely an ornamental gourd! We have a lot of those in various shapes and sizes right now on our farm.

  7. Well the first thing that came to mind was the underside of peanut brittle but nah too yellow, so then i thought perhaps insulation foam cuz it's that color but T think the gals who suggested ornamental gourd nailed it. Yup those bumps look vegetable And interestingly enough the last time I saw hops they were growing along with gourds? PErhaps becasue they both need lots of room for vines maybe it's crop rotation or something to make use of those hop trees with a second harvest.

  8. It's a bumpy gourd - - nearly purchased one today f/ the grocery store. ;)

  9. It's definitely an ornamental gourd. We fashioned gourds into ipu (Hawaiian percussion instrumetns) as a child growing up in Hawaii. I still have mine in fact. It's been sanded and smoothed and sounds as great now as it did back when I was in the 6th grade. :)
    I've got a mystery photo up this week. I hope you'll have some time to stop by and take a guess. Until then, have a great day.

    Kristi, Live and Love...Out Loud

  10. it reminds me of tejas and I feel hungry!

  11. Sorry I don't anything about this stuff, but I did want to thank you for stopping by, and your kind words. I agree a long dance would be divine! Very tired right now I'll come back and read what you have here later. Hugs to you my friend! Have a great Wednesday!

  12. I'm stumped yet again. :)

  13. Hops the best flower known to man, and I think this weeks one looks like I need to eat it, unless thats just me feeling hungry...

  14. that reminds me of bitter gourd. Happy WW!

  15. That is so cool about hops. I love learning stuff like that!

  16. I'm not sure I want to know what this one is.

  17. I thought that frayed knot joke was the BEST! And I LOVED learning about hops : ) THank you for the lesson!

  18. Great post - the pics this week are of a gourd, a pumpkin or squash but don't know the exact name!

  19. LOL I thought it was a close up of a pita chip or something. This is why I don't guess, I stink at it.

  20. beer and peanut brittle --- together? wow.

  21. Yah! I got it. To be truthful, hubs helped me last week. He won. I think this week is a type of squash or gourd. Happy WW! Thanks for linkin up.

  22. It's a bumpy pumpkin/gourd! I think it's funny that it looks so much like peanut brittle!

  23. Lots to learn here about hops!

    Thanks so much for visiting us!

  24. Very educational.

    I would like to invite you to The Wednesday Window . It is the place to feature your favorite blog post of the past week or so, for more details check out Frugality Is Free.

  25. Interesting post! Thanks for stopping by our blog too!

  26. Anonymous11:12 AM

    Coloquially called a warty pumpkin!

  27. You always provide such great information!

    Congrats you wizards.

    This puzzle look like a couple of things.

    First 1 Cheese?
    Um some sort of popcorn? candy?
    Side of a pumpkin?

    I'm clueless.

  28. I have been told this type is also known as a Knucklehead!

  29. Very educative indeed, as usual... As for the puzzle, as my daughter said it looks yucky & cheesy at the same time... But we have no idea what it is! Looking forward for the answer...


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