Environmental historian Peter A. Kopp‘s book Hoptopia: A World of Agriculture and Beer in Oregon’s Willamette Valley (University of California Press, 2016) examines the...

Environmental historian Peter A. Kopp‘s book Hoptopia: A World of Agriculture and Beer in Oregon’s Willamette Valley (University of California Press, 2016) examines the fascinating history of a very special plant: the hop. From its prehistoric origins to its use in ancient and medieval beermaking, the hop was already an important crop in human agriculture when it first appeared on Colonial American shores, but when it made its way to Oregon’s lush Willamette Valley in the mid-19th century, it changed itself, the region, and the world forever. Savvy farmers, brewers and marketers soon turned the Willamette Valley into the “Hops Capital of the World,” and began to bend the entire world’s beer industry to their will. The hop somehow managed to survive and even flourish during Prohibition of the 1920s and 1930s, then almost fell victim to a disease that nearly destroyed the fields of aromatic plenty, but laboratory science and big business spelled a resurrection for the hardy hop. This book is a highly readable and interesting new look at the history of beer and the origins of the Pacific Northwest’s famed craft brewing culture.

Peter A. Kopp is Associate Professor and Director of Public History at New Mexico State University in las Cruces, New Mexico. In addition to researching hops and beer, Dr. Kopp also works on the history of tourism and various aspects of environmental history in the U.S. Southwest. His book Hoptopia won the American Historical Association’s Pacific Coast Branch Book Award last year, 2017.


Sean Munger is an author, historian, teacher and podcaster. He also has his own historical podcast, Second Decade, on the Recorded History Podcast Network.

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