19 Aug Hopping along the Hop Route
The following article appeared in Tourism News.
“Beer is made of barley and hops. But why is a hop called a hop? No-one on the Hop Route in George was able to tell me, and even a dictionary of etymology (the history of words, Miranda) was tantalisingly vague. Seeing that hops were first grown about a thousand years ago in the area of Europe now called Bavaria, it is likely that it comes from a Teutonic word ‘hoop’ (heap) which indicates the way in which hops were left to dry.
Etymology aside, hops are what makes beer beer. Any beer without hops is a mere ale. Hops are what gives beer its distinctive bitter taste as well as acting as a preservative. South African Breweries is the second-largest beer manufacturer in the world, and beer is the third-most consumed beverage of all. So we are talking a lot of beer indeed. And the hops for all the beer brewed in the whole of Africa is grown around George, that unassuming little town on the Garden Route.
George is the only area in Africa where hops are grown. The hop fields stretch out inland of the town, along the mountain pass country of the Outeniqua Pass and the Montagu Pass, protected from sea winds by the Outeniqua Mountains.”