Ramble On

Monday, September 9, 2013

Pick Your Own Hops

Earlier in the week I had an email from Dan inviting me to come over and do a "pick your own" thing at his little hopyard.  They were heading out for their late summer vacation to the Pacific Northwest, and he'd already picked quite a bit - two or three harvests, I think - but there were still Cascades on the bines.  I thought it would be interesting to get out there and check this out, plus I could use whatever I got for brewing later.

Dan uses a folding ladder to get to the highest parts of the bines, but I wasn't altogether interested in doing that, so I decided to stay on the ground and pick off whatever I could reach.  This meant I wasn't going to get to the most productive areas in the high branches, but when I got there I found plenty of cones ready to pick.

We were between events at the vineyard so I only had a half hour or so to pick - I took down about a half pound, as shown here.  If I were going to dry them, I would probably get about an ounce of flowers from this, enough for a lightly hopped batch of beer.  I have them in a zip-loc bag in the fridge, hopefully they'll keep a day or two this way.

At another event I met a couple of the local brewers and chatted them up about what to do with the hops - their suggestion was to use them "wet" and add them to the boil at the end for aroma.  I have a two ounce bag of last year's Cascade crop that I can pair these up with, so I think I have a plan.  I'll use all of these field grown hops in an extract-based pale ale, since I can get a brew like that done on a school night.

Times a wastin'!

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