In the world of beer, you can't skip the hops -- even when the price goes up 400 percent in a year.
That jaw-dropping hike in the price of the twining vine flower -- an ingredient used to impart flavor to many brews -- is the result of market correction, bad crops and China, among other things. For beer lovers at the bar and the distributor, it may boil down to price hikes ranging from a quarter a glass to a few dollars a case in coming months.
''We use about 12 different varieties of hops, and they went up 350 to 400 percent, each one,'' said Dan Weyerbacher, president of Weyerbacher Brewing Co. in Easton.
That translates to a jump from about $4 a pound to about $23 a pound.
This is a serious problem for my local brewery, Zymurgian, and all my friends who brew (I found out in the comments last time that a lot of our readers are also brewers), and there's no quick fix as hops take several years to grow.
Can we blame shrub?