Hoppenings – odds ‘n’ ends…

Allow me to catch up here, a couple items of interest I should have posted a while ago, plus one new one…

First, the 2011 Hop Plantings etc. are well underway – I now have 70+ hills of hops in the ground (how do I have room for that many hop bines?) – about 1/3 are trellised, and I am working on it bit by bit in 85° weather with intense black fly and mosquito interference…

Two weeks ago, I was part of a crew that planted a small historic hopyard at the Justin Morrill homestead in Strafford, VT – I’ll add the link to the Homestead later – but here’s a link to my friend Chris Fleisher’s website/blog/report on the day (I hate seeing myself and listening to my voice recorded… 🙁 – oh well…)

Don't know what it is....

Earlier that day, we went looking for a possible 19th century hop house in the woods on my hill in Tunbridge. We didn’t find the hop house, but we did find some VERRRY old hops growing in the woods and invading a stone wall and garden… We dug up one very substantial rhizome. I planted it among my tame, domesticated hops the following day.

... but I'm looking forward to finding out!

It’s doing quite well, two days later.

We are hoping (we being myself and Adam Krakowski, UVM graduate student and beer/hop historian ) that this is a hop that pre-dates the diseases and pests that wiped out the hop industry in Vermont 100+ years ago… Wouldn’t it be cool to be able to either bring back a hop that no longer exists, or at least add some breeding material / DNA to UVM’s ongoing hop revitalization project?

A couple days later I got an email from a customer, Jeff, with a link to an article about organic hops. Seems that brewers of organic beers will indeed have to use organic hops – a no-brainer, perhaps, but there were those who were trying to get around this…

Another email came in this afternoon – an old friend, a homebrewer with pro/commercial experience, is leaving Vermont and needs to divest of his equipment and bottles – if you are reading this somewhere in the Upper Valley (NH/VT) and would like to get ahold of some free clean, delabeled bottles and maybe some reasonably-priced brewing equipment, email me and I will put you in touch with Ward. But this is only valid for about a week – he will be smashing/recycling his bottles this weekend (June 4th) if no one claims them…

 

Another loss

Eleven years ago, when I was researching beers for North American Clone Brews, I was having trouble getting ahold of some of the better brews from the Pacific Northwest and the Big Sky Country. Someone recommended that I call Don Younger in Portland, OR, as he was about the most knowledgeable and friendly beer guy out there. Turned out that Don owned a pub and a bottle shop (The Horse Brass and Belmont Station), and he was indeed a true gentleman, scholar and craft brew expert. We talked beer on the phone for about an hour, and a week later I got a big box of bottles – he had assembled for me what he felt were the best, most representative beers from OR, WA, ID, MT and WY, and sent them along. Some he made me pay for (Don was a businessman) but some, like a 7-year-old Pike Old Bawdy Barleywine, were gifts to someone he had not met but with whom I guess he felt a kinship… I never did get to meet Don face to face, and now he has passed away and I never will. I am indebted to Don, and am raising a glass to him this evening. Slainté, Don, I hope there is indeed good beer in heaven.
Another view…