Are Native Vermont Hops Good for Brewing? (PART 1)
Vermont and hops have a long history. In the 19th century, Vermont was a hotspot for hop growth and cultivation. During prohibition the demand for hops disappeared and farmers focused on growing more profitable products. Today, the vast majority of hops are grown out west, but finally, after many years, Vermont farmers are once again growing hops commercially. They face many challenges including pests, diseases, and volatile weather conditions.
While Vermont may no longer be a major player when it comes to hop farming, scientists and farmers are collaborating to develop methods for success. Hop plants can be seen growing wild in several locations around Vermont including Wolcott, the Northeast Kingdom and Northfield. So what are we doing with these wild hops? Together with the UVM Extension NW Crops & Soils Team and our intern, Lejla Mahmuljin, we’re making it our mission to find out just how commercially viable these hops are. Are they good for brewing? What’s their flavor and aroma? What characteristics do they impart to the beer? These are all questions we’re working to answer.
To kick it off, we brewed four different SMASH (single hop and single malt) beers on our 10 gallon pilot system. Next, we’ll be running them by the crew during our company tasting panel. Check back to see the results!