Ramble On

Monday, July 29, 2013

Beaver Run Hops

Last week I began seeing a lot of posts from the homebrewing community about it being hops season.  So, while I haven't even seen any flowers on my two backyard bines, I knew that Dan was probably in the thick of things at Beaver Run Brewey and I started looking forward to a visit over the weekend.

Cascade hops ready for picking.
When I arrived, sure enough, he was out in the hopyard, where the Cascades are laden with a crop.  Dan told me this is the second picking - when I arrived, he'd already gathered about a pound in finished weight (shown in the 3 gallon bucket).  And there were plenty more still on the bines.

We took a look around and how the rest of the varieties were doing - none as prolific as the Cascades, and since some are first year plants, they won't produce nearly as much if anything at all this year.
On approach to the hopyard - these are the Cascade bines.

After having a look around, we went back into the brewery to check things out.  In particular, I wanted to catch up with him about the barley project the local homebrewers association had started.  This was a plan where a local farmer put about an acre into production for brewable barley.

The crop has come in, and it is about 3,000 pounds.  Arrangements were made for malting it at a local facility - there were commitments for nearly 1,200 pounds (I wanted to go in for 50 pounds), but in the end, our processing wasn't successful.  There are some lessons learned that I am looking forward to hearing, but to me this was one of the most exciting brewing adventures going on - to think we could brew with local barley, hops and water...that would have been great, and I hope that the association will give this one another go!

This is the 3-gallon bucket already picked.
By the way, you can check in on our association in my blogroll to the right.

To conclude my visit, we went to the beer cooler, where Dan happened to have a whiskey barrel porter on tap.  This was a delicious hoppy beer with oak and bourbon notes - courtesy of supplies from our distillery friends at Copper Fox in Sperryville, the home of Wasmunds whiskey.  We shared a pint and then I needed to move on to my Sunday errands.

I hope to have a post up in the next few days about the status of my two hop bines.  Catch you then.
The first picking is already dried and stored.

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