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Discussion in 'Beer News' started by Jason, Jul 16, 2012.
Via University of Minnesota News:
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.
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.
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...
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.
I would assume the university work is towards creating hop varieties that are resistant to the midwest pests and diseases.
Michigan has been in a bit of a hop boom lately, fields are popping up all over.
That's an understatement. Driving the 12 from Yakima right before harvest is mind-boggling. They go on forever.
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.
I definitely agree with you on this.
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!
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.
Don't underestimate the U of M - they came up with the Honeycrisp Apple.
They also have developed many cold hearty grapes. It is a world class operation!
Honeycrisp apples are ridiculously good.
when's harvest time? I need a vacation...
A little place near me is harvesting tomorrow.
Should start by the beginning of September
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.