Someone I know is somewhat interested in making their own beer but mentioned that they are not particularly fond of hops.
I didn’t probe further to determine what aspect of hops they found unappealing (maybe the bitterness found in such styles as IPA). I’m a big fan of hops in beer myself (as well as a homebrewer) so I can’t really relate but I was trying to think if any examples of the commonly made styles of beer are made without any hops at all.
I could think of two, but neither is exactly common.
The Sumerian beer made by the Anchor Brewing company a few years back didn’t use hops, and rightfully so because it was based on a nearly 4,000 year old recipe, long before hops was used in beermaking. One of Charlie Papazian’s books goes into some detail on how to make this beer at home, so I might recommend it to my friend.
I have had hop-less beer flavored with heather at the Cambridge Brewing Company in Cambridge MA. It is very good but my impression is that it isn’t really sold commercially anywhere, except maybe by other micros that make a batch now and then. Again, this is supposedly based on an antique style of beer from before hops was used.
I also know some more modern types of beer (bock, English mild, some of the Belgian Ales) have very little hops characteristics, but AFAIK none are totally hops-free.
So are there any modern styles of beer that are ever made entirely without hops?