Thursday, July 24, 2014

Hop allergy! I'm allergic to bullshit

Allergic to hops?

Because of this allergy I get a little watery eyed when my friend, Cocktail Sauce, reminds me for the 10,000th time that she is allergic to hops.

....No, she doesn't want to try the new DIPA I got imported from the states.

And yes, she'll come hang out. But when we get to the beer shop/reggae bar and I face the ordering selection in triumph, "what shall we get?!" She politely seeks out a cider.

Oh, right... fuckin hop allergy. What did you do in a past life to be cursed so? I mean, gluten free people are one thing but, as Nutwood from Kentucky so eloquently stated, "if it doesn't have hops, it isn't beer."
More than just a choking hazard...?

Is there really such a thing as being allergic to hops?

Unfortunately yes. It isn't bullshit and it isn't just Asain glow (or mild alcohol allergy), it is a real allergic reaction to hop pollen and it can have some nasty effects. In fact, it turns out you can be allergic to nearly all the essential elements of beer but Cocktail Sauce is 99% sure it's the hops.

What are the symptoms of hop allergy?

Usually hop allergies are fairly mild. Which is the reason Cocktail Sauce will often 'try' the beers I forgetfully bring along as my "I'll bring the drinks," party contribution.

If Cocktail Sauce were to habitually do hop the way that I do she could potentially break out in a skin rash, develop a painful sinus problem coupled with swelling of the mouth and tongue which could possibly lead to anaphylaxis, a life-threatendng whole-body reaction that causes trouble breathing and swells the throat. At which point I would have to call the emergency line (what's 911 in France?) and inevitably have to put down my beer.

Bummer to the max.

What to do if you're allergic to hops?

Avoid hops.

Take non-drowsy Benadryl or another antihistamine to relive some of the allergic reaction symptoms.

Try herbed or spiced beers as they are the widest range of styles that omit the hops.

Drink cider. But why drink cider when you could follow this step by step Champagne Cider guide and make that it yourself!

What to do if you aren't allergic to hops?


Then check this shit out:

  • 10 hop flavors you should know - Draftmag

  • Oregonians are hop crazy! - Here is the Hood River Hops Fest's fresh hop beer selection

  • SMaSH Beers for Hops Learnings - BrewDudes do BIAB (brew in a bag)!


  1. That's sad news. There would be worse places for her to live though. Like Belgium, Munich, or Prague. I wouldn't wish a hop allergy on my worst enemy. Ok, well...maybe I would because then they would probably avoid most of the places I enjoy hanging out at.

  2. She's a good sport about it and puts up with my consistent inability to remember her allergy, but she seems to has gotten used to it possibly because she is from UK and works in bars. Lots of beer drinkers around.
    Most horrid affliction though, really. In my research I found that the allergy often develops in beer factory workers due to over exposure. To hops. FML.
    I'm not even sure what I would do if I became allergic... I wouldn't be able to do go any of the places my friends go!!! Or worse... I'd become a cider drinker...
    Quel horror!