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Potential Hop Farms In the Mid-West?

Discussion in 'Beer News' started by Jason, Jul 16, 2012.

  1. Jason

    Jason Founder (1,475) Massachusetts Aug 23, 1996 Staff Member Verified Subscriber

    Via University of Minnesota News:


  2. The U of M has had great success with apples and wine grapes that grow well in the upper midwest so I can only hope that they can do as well with hops.

    Across the border in WI, they are already in the middle of a hop boom with a bunch of small hop growers and now that Gorst Valley Hops has developed a truly affordable hop harvester for only $12,900, we could really see the start of a whole new paradigm in hop growing.
    franklinn and JCTetreault like this.
  3. jlpred55

    jlpred55 Savant (305) Iowa Jul 26, 2006

    Small time hop growers aside, what about cost of land factoring into this? I know in the corn belt, where I live- land prices have gone through the roof due to the corn prices, etc. The last land purchase I was a part of, the sale was 10K an acre and that was currently in pasture.
  4. Hops were grown in New York, Wisconsin and other places in the US at that longitude and Latitude. Though it worked for a while the bines just got whooped by some many pests, dieases, and other maladies. That's why the US growing area is now centered in the PNW. I love the fact that folks are growing hops in places not so common right now but isn't the reality that getting them picked, processed and kilned in short order defeat the effort? It's one thing to grow them but you have to process them or they become a heaping pile of moldy sticky vegetal matter quite quickly.
    Fresh hop ale is great but will it support the time and effort? The infrastructure in the Yakima Valley is what keeps it viable there. No kilns, no pelletizing plants, no bazillion square foot cold rooms, it takes a lot of equipment, time and knowledge to get it done right.
    Thinking out loud...
  5. Either Gorst Valley or the WI Hopgrowers Co-op has a pelletizer so the infrastructure is probably there but not at the levels you would find in Yakima Valley. Add in the new hop harvester and grower support from other growers and universities an I can see this building over time to a sustainable but small portion of the craft beer world.
  6. rlcoffey

    rlcoffey Advocate (515) Kentucky Apr 20, 2004

    I would assume the university work is towards creating hop varieties that are resistant to the midwest pests and diseases.
  7. steebo777

    steebo777 Advocate (580) Michigan Jun 30, 2009 Verified

    Michigan has been in a bit of a hop boom lately, fields are popping up all over.
  8. leedorham

    leedorham Champion (845) Washington Apr 27, 2006

    That's an understatement. Driving the 12 from Yakima right before harvest is mind-boggling. They go on forever.
    Beerandraiderfan likes this.
  9. The Midwest hop grewers have a long way to go to become established. The local breweries will use those hops for one beer or so around harvest time. Price is where they have a hard time competing.
    steebo777 likes this.
  10. steebo777

    steebo777 Advocate (580) Michigan Jun 30, 2009 Verified

    I definitely agree with you on this.
  11. spartan1979

    spartan1979 Advocate (505) Missouri Dec 29, 2005 Verified Subscriber

    We saw several last week on our trip through western Michigan. I was surprised when I saw the first on so I had to stop and take a picture!
  12. tozerm

    tozerm Savant (410) Washington Jul 1, 2005

    Try driving around Yakima at 9am during harvest.... the smell of hops is soooo thick in the air you start salivating. With all the plants heavy into pelletizing and what not, the air is absolutely think with the aroma... pure joy.
  13. plumcrazyfx

    plumcrazyfx Savant (485) Minnesota Aug 26, 2010 Verified

    Don't underestimate the U of M - they came up with the Honeycrisp Apple.
  14. They also have developed many cold hearty grapes. It is a world class operation!
  15. CellarGimp

    CellarGimp Savant (475) Missouri Sep 14, 2011

    Honeycrisp apples are ridiculously good.
    whatsleftofyou likes this.
  16. SHODriver

    SHODriver Advocate (525) Louisiana Aug 13, 2010

    when's harvest time? I need a vacation...
  17. A little place near me is harvesting tomorrow.
  18. tozerm

    tozerm Savant (410) Washington Jul 1, 2005

    Should start by the beginning of September
  19. The harvest time varies by the variety and year, and your location. Here in SE Michigan my experience has been that the European aroma varieties are ready just about now. Some of the American high Alpha varieties are ready after Labor day, mabe Sept. 10 to 15.