Molecular dynamic simulations have been carried out on systems containing a mixture of barley lipid transfer protein (LTP) and cis-isocohumulone (a hop derived iso-a-acid) in one of its enol forms, in bulk water and at the vacuum-water interface. In solution, the cis-isocohumulone molecules bind to the surface of the LTP molecule. The mechanism of binding appears to be purely hydrophobic in nature via desolvation of the protein surface. Binding of hop acids to the LTP leads to a small change in the 3-D conformation of the protein, but no change in the proportion of secondary structure present in helices, even though there is a significant degree of hop acid binding to the helical regions. At the vacuum-water interface, cis-isocohumulone shows a high surface activity and adsorbs rapidly at the interface. LTP then shows a preference to bind to the preadsorbed hop acid layer at the interface rather than to the bare water-vacuum interface. The free energy of adsorption of LTP at the hop- vacuum-water interface is more favorable than for adsorption at the vacuum-water interface. Our results support the view that hop iso-a-acids promote beer foam stability by forming bridges between separate adsorbed protein molecules, thus strengthening the adsorbed protein layer and reducing foam breakdown by lamellar phase drainage. The results also suggest a second mechanism may also occur, whereby the concentration of protein at the interface is increased via enhanced protein adsorption to adsorbed hop acid layers. This too would increase foam stability through its effect on the stabilizing protein layer around the foam bubbles. © 2008 American Chemical Society.