Craft beer’s surge in popularity coincides with a movement toward locavorism and a greater general interest in the ingredients in the products we consume. Most people now know that beer contains four major ingredients: water, grain, yeast and hops. Hops, the flower of the climbing plant humulus lupus, play a central role in determining a beer’s character. But some people aren't aware that there are hundreds of hop varieties—and that each one imparts a distinct aroma or flavor to a beer.
The DC-based Committee on Opprobriations—a bureaucratic mouthful of a name—is a loose organization of anonymous designers that was founded in 2011. The word “opprobriations” is a combination of the word “opprobrium” and “appropriations”—the former because they attempt to challenge traditional concepts, and the latter because they appropriate Modernist design concepts. This committee is attempting to educate regarding the specific character of each hop with the Single Hop Project. The project is made up of numerous prints; each one features a single hop and lists the percentages of the alpha, beta and cohumulone acids, as well as the commercial release date and the hop’s country of origin.
For those who retain information visually, the committee notes that, “for each hop varietal, the design is meant to establish a visual reference point for that hop. Once that mental anchor is set, it is easier for a person to recall that hop as distinct from others and then translate that knowledge to their beer drinking experience, especially the novice.”
The prints’ abstract designs appeal to both rookies and beer geeks alike. Hops’ many unique characteristics (not only do they come in nearly limitless varieties, but they also have anti-microbial and preservative properties) have endeared them to many beer enthusiasts, who can now celebrate their attachment to a particular hop with a specific print. The included information in each print also gives the rookie a toe-hold in the exhaustive world of beer trivia.
The prints can be found online and purchased via Society6.
Images by the Committee on Opprobriations