This essay documents the century-long efforts of Peter Darby, Ernest S. Salmon, and Ray Neve, all of whom were directors of England's Hop Research Program. While these scientists engaged in myriad projects, the central story surrounds the development and release of hybrid hop varieties for use in beer. In contrast with the brewing industry that turned toward mechanization and industrial advancements in the twentieth century, the English hop breeding program steadily relied on hand-pollinating characteristic of Mendelian genetics. Crossbreeding, or hybridization, of hops (and scores of other dioicous plants—that is, those with two distinct sexes) traditionally occurred with scientists selecting specimens that exhibited desirable traits that could be traced to their hereditary makeup. The process was painstakingly slow, requiring countless dustings of pollen from male plants onto female flowers. Darby, Salmon, and Neve engaged in this process thousands of times before deciding on which offspring to select from the greenhouses to transplant into fields. Their promising and successful specimens today populate England's experimental hop garden for their potential in brewing or breeding future crosses; the most outstanding progeny can be found in beers near and far.

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