Are Hops Gluten-Free? (Plus 8 Other Interesting Facts About Them!)

People who struggle with gluten intolerance or celiac disease often wonder what they can and can’t eat.

It can be quite difficult to find food that doesn’t have gluten in it, so most often avoid foods or drinks they believe have gluten in them.

Are Hops Gluten-Free

The tricky thing about avoiding foods and drinks that you assume have gluten in them is that you often avoid ones that don’t.

Hops are often believed to have gluten in them, but is this the truth? Well, we have got the answer for you. On top of that, we also have 8 other fun facts about hops.

What Are Hops?

Hops are flowers that look like green cones. They grow on a vine-like plant called Humulus Lupulus.

Hops are used as an ingredient in beer making because they add bitterness to the brew.

In addition to being added to beer, hops are also used in cooking, medicine, perfumes, and even cosmetics.

Are Hops Gluten-Free?

Yes! Hops are naturally gluten-free. Since they are a flower, they are free from gluten.

However, there has been some talk about whether there might be cross-contamination from other ingredients.

This is due to the fact that most beers contain grains in them, meaning they contain gluten. So whilst hops are gluten-free, it does not mean that the beer will be gluten-free.

It is always better to check the labels on the bottles or cans. They will often advertise if their product is free from gluten.

You can also look at the ingredients to check that there is nothing that contains gluten in the product.

Facts About Hops


Now that you know hops are free from gluten, here are some other interesting facts you probably didn’t know about hops.

France Did It First

We’ve all heard of hoppy beer, well you may be surprised to know that the first recorded beer with hops in it came from France.

This was recorded by French monks in 822 AD. This might seem like a long time ago but this is relatively recent in the history of brewing as this goes back well over 9000 years.

Hops Grow On Bines

No, that wasn’t a spelling error. Hops don’t grow on vines, they grow on bines. So, what are bines?

Well, they’re just a type of vine. Bines are usually found growing along rivers, streams, and roadsides.

Vines use tendrils to grip onto things which is how they are able to grow upwards. However, bines bend around the object it is growing against.

Bines can grow up to 20 feet off of the ground.

Hoppy Sleeping

Did you know that hops were originally used as a sleep aid? Yes, they were used as a way to help you get to sleep easier.

One trick people used to do was to put hops under their pillows to help them sleep.

We all know that drinking too much craft beer can make you sleepy, and now we know why. Well, that and other ingredients in craft beer make you sleepy.

Hops Are Stubborn

When it comes to growing, hops like to go in one direction and one direction only.

Hops only twist clockwise. If you try to force them to turn counterclockwise, they’ll fight back. Well, not really. What they will do is untwist themselves and start twisting clockwise again.

Hops And Cannabis Sativa Are Family

Hops and Cannabis Sativa are cousins. In fact, they have more than just being cousins in common.

Both Hops and Cannabis Sativa plants have sexes. This means that there are male plants and there are also female plants.

For hops plants, you can easily distinguish what sex it is through the flowers. Female hops plants are the only ones that produce the coneflowers that are used in brewing beer.

Keep Hops Away From Pets (Unless They Are Chickens)

If you own a dog, cat, or any other pet, then you should keep your hops away from them.

Why? Because hops can actually kill them. Hops can cause dogs and cats to have a very high fever and in the worst cases, it can lead to death. So, don’t let hops near your pets.

However, if your pets happen to be chickens then you do not have to worry. In fact, hops are great for chickens as they help the chickens’ digestive systems.

Hops help to keep chickens’ intestines free of harmful bacteria.

Hops Controversy

Hops slowly started to make their way into the brewing process in England during the 15th and 16 centuries.

This caused controversy as hops in brewed drinks were considered to be beer, whilst drinks with malted barley and no hops were known as ales.

The presence of hops in beer caused a divide. So much so, there were local bans on hops in cities.

Although, it is rumored that Henry VI enjoyed a beer with hops to the point he became an important figure in allowing the brewing of this drink to continue.

Preserve The Beer

The original use for hops was nothing to do with flavor. In fact, hops were originally used to help preserve the beer.

During the time people were experimenting on how to make the beer last longer, a few plants were introduced into the brewing stages.

Hops seemed to make the beer last longer, so it became the plant of choice.

The great thing is it also added a nice flavor!

Final Thoughts

So, hops do not contain any gluten since they are a flower.

However, most beers do contain gluten so it would be a good idea to check the ingredients, rather than basing the gluten content on the presence of hops.

Hops have changed the beer brewing industry and they are a surprisingly interesting plant with lots of history.

Hopefully, this article has helped you learn more about this amazing plant and has answered any questions you may have had.

Please share this article with those who would benefit from reading it. Thank you for reading!

Andrew Carr
Latest posts by Andrew Carr (see all)