Bodie’s miners relaxed with a variety of beverages and there were (according to several sources) as many as 65 saloons in the business of satisfying their needs. Among the choices available to them were beers produced locally at several different breweries. In the 1880s there were (according to OldBreweries.com) at least 6 breweries operating in Bodie. Hops (Humulus lupulus) can be found growing today in sheltered locations outside several old houses in Bodie. Were these merely ornamental, or were some locally grown hops used to flavor locally produced beers? I’ve yet to find documentation that any locally grown hops were actually used by the breweries here, but the question is intriguing. It’s likely that hops for the breweries were of necessity imported from Carson Valley, Owens Valley, or even the Central Valley west of Sonora.
Humulus lupulus growing in downtown Bodie
Hops are not native to the Bodie Hills, but there are varieties of hop that are apparently native to the American midwest and southwest. The kind cultivated here at Bodie and throughout much of the world for beer-making is the European or common hop, Humulus lupulus var. lupulus. Its relation to certain other intoxicating plants is indicated by its inclusion in the family Cannabaceae.
In the IOOF building
A license to sell “legalized beverages”
Another hops plant in Bodie (circa 1980)
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