While I was in Portsmouth, New Hampshire this past weekend I stopped at thePortsmouth Brewery for lunch, there was a short wait for a table so I took a look through the gift shop and came across jars of pickled hops shoots. I’ve heard that hops shoots are excellent and good for you so I thought I’d give them a try.
Hops shoots are young vines harvested before they have a chance to mature. Hops have a fibrous, woody stem and stiff hairs to aid in climbing. The first thing I noticed when I tried them was the texture, if they weren’t pickled I’d have to imagine they would be rather tough, the stems are rough and almost prickly. All the obvious flavors are there, vinegar, garlic and spices and the hops themselves have a green leafy flavor. I would compare them to pickled fiddleheads and my wife compared them to dilly beans without the snap.
If you like pickled green veggies like dilly bean’s and fiddleheads then you would probably enjoy pickled hops shoots. The texture is odd but the flavor is very similar. I bet these would make a fun garnish for Bloody Mary’s.
I know I normally just talk about the hops in the beer I’m drinking but I thought it would be fun to share a different use for my favorite beer additive. Keep an eye out in the near future for another post where hops are used for something other than beer. In case you’re curious, I’m drinking a Rhising Bines by Dogfish Head while I write this.