Hop Head Farms
Feels like I haven’t been out and about in ages. Mind you the winter we had in Michigan this year I think, made quite a number of us sleep away the cold. Even then it seems like we are still going through the after effects of the cold even now in what should be the hottest days of summer. Lucky for those of us who love beer, this hasn’t really hurt our lucky hop farms.
Jeff and Bonnie Steinman from Hop Head Farms hosted a pre-harvest open house earlier so that the brewers who use their hops will have a chance to tour the facilities and check out the growth of the hops over the past summer.
Based on the height of the bines, it has been a great summer for hops. After the plantings of their second 15 acres last year the full 30 acres have shown great growth.
Now aside from the growth of the hops, the gathering was a chance for many brewers to not only get together and talk shop but also see a one of a kind hop processing facility. For a few of the brewers I spoke with, this was their first time to the farm.
A few times at this visit I was reminded of where they started. This of course, was brought home when I looked at the collection of pictures I have built up over the past few years. Mind you, there was a moment when we were walking around with Jeff Steinman and he talked about the birth of the barn for the picker (Griselda) and then the oast house. Sure in hindsight this all happened in the blink of an eye.
But from the time of the first plantings to now where all 30 acres are filled with hops, during all that time, it seemed like it would never happen. Now we see this unique property, sure there are hop farms popping up all over the place. But this one is a bit different. Their oast is a unique design formed through German engineering and American ingenuity. They fit quite a bit of possibility into a small space. This is something you have to see first hand to really understand what it is they are doing.
And all of this brings me back to the real importance of a place like this. Sure the farm has quite a bit of hops planted and they have a great facility. But there is something more than that. It is just as true for the craft beer movement as the underlying industries that are growing to support it. It is the people you meet within the industry itself. The people are the driving force.
I don’t know really. This is all much bigger than I have time to get into right at this moment. So I guess we should take some time and think on that. Heck, if you get some time check out their site and find out what beers have their hops. As for me…
It’s time for a pint…