What in the Heck Are Hops?

As I mentioned in my last post, we went to Chico, California, at the beginning of May for a wedding.  We stayed there a week but didn’t see much of the area.  Most of the visit was spent visiting with friends, eating junk food and laughing a lot.  Better than any guided tour!

After our friends had left for home, Bruce and I had lunch at The Sierra Nevada Brewing Company.  We sat outside under the vine covered arbor on the patio.  The tri-trip salad with portobello mushrooms was delicious and filling.  Afterwards we took a tour of the brewery which is pretty impressive.  I know nothing about beer but managed to absorb enough from our tour guide to appreciate how difficult it is to make.  The Sierra Nevada brewery operation has gone from a small warehouse in Chico in the early 80’s to one of the largest brewing companies in the United States.

These are the green hops. Hops are a basic ingredient in beer making, along with malt, yeast & water.


IMG_0097The guide here is having us taste a tea made from the brewed hops and water.  At this point it has no alcohol and is rather sweet.  It needs malt to reduce the sweetness.  We tried the tea and it tasted very sweet/herbal.




I can’t explain properly what is happening in these pictures but you can get an idea of what things look like.




What interested me is the absence of people on the bottling floor.  The machines seem to run on their own. 


The plant employs solar power, as shown by these roof panels.


Wild Animal Warning Outside Brewery


The tour was completely free and was an entertaining way to spend an hour when touring the area. I hope we can get back and see this town a little better. For now though we are headed up to the real Sierra Nevada Mountains for awhile.  Our next stop is Grass Valley, California.