6. Hops as a chemical factory

Hops produce a large amount of substances with a curative, intoxicating or antiseptic effects. In addition to a-acids, which are used as indicators of hop quality, it is more than 200 types of essential oils creating a typical hop aroma, or flavonoids, thanks to which the hop has anti-cancer effects.

GPS: N 50°19.726´,E 013°37.753´show on map

6. Hops as a chemical factory

Most plants produce a large number of different substances and hops are no exception. With some exaggeration, it could be compared to a specialized chemical factory. Due to the specific chemical composition, the hops were domesticated and used not only for beer production, but also in medicine – for example, after drinking beer, the a-acids contained in hops break down into substances that act as a calming and slightly intoxicating effect (not by an accident is a hemp a close relative of hops). Coincidentally, the same acids are one of the essential components affecting the taste of beer and their share is a measure of the quality of the harvest and the evaluation of the hop varieties. Another important products of hop metabolism are essential oils: hops produce hundreds of species and, apart from the taste of beer, the dried hops smell strongly: in Žatec area you can easily recognize the end of summer, the strong smell of hops is felt everywhere in the landscape.

For what does hops actually need to produce so many energy intensive compounds? The explanation is the convolution of herbivores and parasites with the plant: most of these substances act as specific
“weapons” against infections and nibbling, and therefore often have a positive effect on the human body and act antiseptically.

At the same time, it is very common for these originally defensive substances to be used by man – from another region, capsaicin contained in the paprika, or a wide range of very toxic alkaloids headed by a caffeine.

Similar substances can also be attributed to the aromatic odor of hop cones: the hop contains more than 200 types of aromatic oils; myricin and humulon are the most noticeable- their characteristic smell is felt in the landscape during the time of picking hop cones. The high content of flavonoids – for example- xantohumol -is of interest to the medical industry as it is likely to inhabit certain types of cancer.

Have you not visited the hop path yet?

So you can take a stroll and read interesting facts about hops and the place.

You are entering the grounds of the Hop Institute, where agricultural machinery moves all year around. Take extra care! Enter at your own risk.


Hop Research Institute Co., LTD
Kadanska 2525
438 01 Zatec
+420 415 732 111


Stekník, 438 01 Žatec


Beer tasting during the beer festival at the Hop Research Institute in Žatec.

-traditional event for invited experts and laics at the Hop Research Institute
-accompanying program at the beer festival