The Joy of the Harvest

Making your own beer is one of the great joys in life.  Even if it never approaches the stuff you can buy, one’s own homebrew somehow always takes just a little better. Even a mediocre batch of homemade beer  with its slight funk still possesses that certain je ne sais qua that cannot be found anywhere else.

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Yet  over the years I have found that this appreciation is magnified when you grow some of the ingredients yourself.  Now since most of us cannot grow, let alone malt the necessary amount of barely. nor do we keep and culture our own yeasts, the easiest way to do this is to grow your own hops.

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For four years I have cultivated both Cascade and Centennial hops growing them on DSC_3220lines strung up the back of our church parish hall.  Although the first year yielded very little I am now getting two full harvests each year.  Of course while the vines are beautiful the only real use for them is brewing.  So when late August rolls around we have gotten into the habit of brewing a wet-hop or “harvest” beer.  One year we went so far as to collect and brew with  rain water from Hurricane Irene.

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DSC_3225This year we decided to wait until we were actually brewing to go out and pick them.  So while the grains were steeping we went out to the garden to pick the flowers of aromatic, oily goodness.  It takes a surprising amount of hops to make the necessary weight  for the aroma stage and to have enough extra to dry hop the carboys.

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DSC_3227While this beer has been consistently good I am under no illusions.  There are a lot of great wet-hopped beers out there.  Yet knowing that part of the beer came not from the supply store but as the fruit of my own labor makes our own beer taste that much better.

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So what about you?  Do you grow your own hops?  If so, what variety?  How much use do you get out them?  Please let us know.

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One thought on “The Joy of the Harvest

  1. Pingback: Keeping busy with the Beef and Beer | So This Priest Walks Into a Bar…

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