Friday, July 04, 2008
Hoppy Birthday, America!
I decided to grow my own hops for homebrewing back in 2001. I grew Fuggles back then. Unfortunately a few years into the project, I found I needed a new septic field and the old hop plants did not survive. In 2004, I planted four new varieties: US Goldings, Cascade, Hallertau and Nugget. These are doing very well, now. In the picture above and to the right, the plants are just beginning their new lives. The picture was taken on May 19, 2008.
I have been using my own hops for beer for several years but this year, due to the hop shortage, I have decided to use my own hops exclusively. It will save me a bunch of dough! I have made several ten gallon batches this year, using only my own hops!
Next year I plan on extending the trellis by adding a central pole and running the hops up that to a height of near twenty feet. It may make it easier to keep the different hop varieties from getting tangled up together. I should also divide some of the roots. If I do, I will have them available for others interested in the hobby (stay tuned!).
The second picture shows the hops as they look today. The flowers are fuzzy little things at the moment but will morph into hops cones in the next week or so. In August they will ripen and I will pick and dry them for freezing. I will record the process this year for the blog. Each variety ripens at a different time, just to make things interesting!
So sometime in September I will be able to celebrate Hop Independence Day!