Late August through early September is a magical time in Oregon as local beer drinkers await the flood of wet hop beers headed to taprooms and bottle shops. But nowhere is the magic felt more strongly than in a local hop yard. I paid a visit to Crosby Hop Farm recently to tour the grounds, learn a little more about their process and share the experience with #pdxbeergeeks at this very special time of year.
While I considering which farm I would visit, I obviously wanted to choose local. We are fortunate in PDX to live in the heart of one of the world's richest hop-producing areas, and I wanted to take advantage of that. I’ve been ordering hops from Crosby Hop Farm for the past three years as a homebrewer, and quite frankly, the quality of pellets I’ve bought from them has consistently outperformed any other source I’ve found. It is hard to overstate how good their pellets are. They’re of incredible quality. The aroma, oil content and texture are amazing. Besides, how much more local can you get than a 300-acre, fifth-generation, family-owned hop farm just a stone’s throw from Portland?
|Nugget hops drying in the kiln.|
|Beau Evers describes harvest operations to a members of B.I.N.G.: Beverage Industry Networking Group|
|2015 is a big year for CHF, including their debut crop of Amarillo|
Wet or fresh hop beers are an absolute treasure. Unkilned wet hops straight from the field are hauled to boil kettles at local breweries, often conveyed via such novel delivery modes as the back of a pickup truck. However, Evers noted that some far-flung accounts are even paying top dollar to air ship wet hops from CHF across the country for next-day use. Wet hops are delivered within hours of picking and added to the end of the boil to preserve the volatile oils specific to each crop of each of variety. These beers are best served fresh and change daily in the package (kegs and bottles alike). The character is unmistakable. We are truly blessed to live as close to the fields as we do, because these beers are a celebration of this magical time of year.
It was incredible walking the fields at CHF, located just off I-5 near Woodburn. The hop aroma permeates the dank air for the entire surrounding area. I absolutely recommend driving the local roads in late August and early September. The operation is impressive from the roadside, and up close, that smell is unbeatable.
|Your humble author, dwarfed by a not-so-humble heap of hops|