The Association of Hungarian Brewers has officially opened the 2016 beer season. At the various stops in its latest “Sör mi több” series of beer-themed events this year, in addition to gastronomy particular emphasis is being placed on the raw ingredients, quality brewing and women’s relationship with beer.
At the first event of the season, the newly founded Hops Club set out to revive hop-growing in Hungary, albeit only symbolically for the time being. Beer is one of our most natural beverages, made from hops, water, barley and yeast.
At this year’s season opener, alongside the tasty pairings of beer and food, the spotlight was on hops, which are known for their many health benefits. Hops are among the younger cultivated crops, and the seed cones of the hop plant are also used in medicine and aromatherapy.
Only the female, conical hop cones are suitable for brewing beer. They give the beer an important aroma and its distinctive bitter flavour.
The bitterness of beer is measured in IBUs (International Bitterness Units). Most beers fall within the 5-100 IBU range. Extremely hoppy beers with an IBU of a thousand have also been brewed, however, despite the fact that the limit of human taste perception is around 120 IBU.
The menu put together for the season-opening event by beer connoisseur István Vásárhelyi and the Aria Hotel’s chef Gábor Ferencz showcased the diversity of hops, with a lineup of beers ranging from those made with the classic “noble” hop varieties to the new wave of beers with aromatic and more discrete hop flavourings.
“In the space of only a year, the ‘Sör mi több’ program has become a part of the ‘discourse’ on beer,” said Attila Schillinger, director of the Association of Brewers at the opening event of the 2016 beer season. “A new kind of beer culture is taking shape, without which there would be no contemporary Hungarian gastronomy.
“This year, we’re bringing out the flavours in beer, starting with the hops, which were known to the first Hungarian settlers and were once grown here too.”
Those who attended the celebration were not only enriched with a memorable gastronomic experience, but the most adventurous had the chance to try their hand at hop cultivation by adopting a hop plant. Help in growing the plants will be available from the Sör mi több Hops Club.
The association hopes that it will be able to spend another summer enjoying the responsible consumption of high-quality beers and the food that complements them. It won’t be long before the first public event in the Sör mi több series, with a special exhibition at the end of this month aimed at tempting the ladies over to beer.
(Editor’s note: “Sör mi több” is a play on words that is too clever for us to translate and explain. Read it as “Drink beer to your heart’s content and you will be happy”, and this should suffice.)