Growing Hops
Posted on 4/30/2013 by Chops
Stick with a passion for long enough and you are bound to take it to the next level. If someone had told me back in the day that my discovery of craft beer would lead to me to growing hops for home brewing... I would have probably had no reaction because I was too busy enjoying delicious craft beer. But anyway, fast forward to today and I now find myself growing hops with a long time friend. To be perfectly honest, I have absolutely no idea what I'm doing. My friend decided to plan and construct a hop trellis on his new patch of land, and I agreed to help. Now the hops are in the ground and we await the fruits of our labor.

Let me reiterate that I have absolutely no idea what I'm doing. Luckily my friend is an experienced farmer and home brewer, so we have that going for us. However, neither of us have grown hops before, so I wanted to open up this advice column for anyone who finds themselves in a similar situation.

So to any hop growers out there, please bestow some nuggets of wisdom unto us lowly noobs!

Oh, and below are the hop varieties that we have chosen for our first run (descriptions from

Centennial : Sometimes called a Super Cascade, Centennial was bred in 1974 but not released until 1990. It has a floral, citrus aroma and a clean spicy flavor; its heritage includes Brewer's Gold, Fuggle, and East Kent Golding. Popular among craft brewers, Centennial lends its distinctive character to, among others, Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale and Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Barleywine.

Willamette : Released from the U.S.D.A. hop breeding program in 1976, Willamette is a triploid (some sources say tetraploid) seedling of Fuggle bred to be easier to grow in the United States. It's still less vigorous than most modern hop varieties, but easier to grow in most areas than the very fussy Fuggle. Willamette has a mild, grassy, floral and slightly spicy aroma similar to Fuggle, and is often used as a substitute, especially in the United States where Fuggle does not grow well. Willamette is extensively planted in the U.S. Pacific Northwest.

Mount Hood : A triploid released in 1983 as part of a program attempting to develop an American substitute for Hallertauer Mittelfrüh, Mount Hood was a cross between a tetraploid Hallertauer and an unnamed aroma variety derived from Early Green. Sister hops from the same program include Liberty, Crystal, and Ultra. Mount Hood has a mild and clean aroma and flavour, excellent for finishing European lagers.

Zeus : A very high alpha acid bittering hop from Washington state, a sister to Sun most likely derived from Northern Brewer. Reportedly has an intense character. Zeus is a proprietary hop controlled by S.S. Steiner, Inc.

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