Barley Mowat 

The Problem With Growing Hops

with 2 comments

As revealed previously, I have somehow managed to convince my girlfriend Sharon to devote a significant chunk of her very limited Kits-condo deck space to growing hops. I figured we’d plant a few rhizomes and see what, if any, cones develop. Then I would sit on the deck in late summer, enjoying a nice bitter, and then reach over, pluck one of the three or four fresh cones, and plop in my glass for a nice shot of fresh hop herb-i-ness.

A wonderful dream, I suppose, but reality has this nasty way of getting in the way. So, what happened? Did the hops all die off? Not really. Despite a massive infestation of aphids (how many–well, it turns out there is such a thing as a “hop aphid” if that gives you a clue), careful and diligent due attention by the afore-mentioned and completely-awesome Sharon managed to keep them confined to the fuggle at the end of the row (sob… good-bye wet hopped english mild ale).

What happened is that the hops flowered in a volume far beyond even my wildest dreams. Yes, it is possible to grow hops on a small deck in the city. Lots of hops. Giant reams of hops. We have yet to see what the final harvest will be since they’re still growing, but early results suggest an exact figure somewhere in the “buckets.”

To give you an idea of what I’m talking about, here are my glorious children up close.

The one on the left is my favourite, but each one is a precious gem, special in its own way.

Seems pretty close to the original dream, right? Well, let’s pan that picture up a bit to get some context. Yes, each of those flowery things becomes a cone.

Uh… anyone want some hops?

So, what to do with all the hops? I’ve been reviewing a few ideas, such as aromatic therapy pillows, tea, wet- and fresh-hopping beers, but my favourite so far is the notion of hop ice cream. If it works with green tea, I don’t see why it won’t work with hops. Expect the results of that in a few weeks. Also, when we’re all done with this season, I intend on putting up a nice summary of tips and tricks for growing hops in the city, so stay tuned for that.

In the meantime, if a local brewery known for playing around with ingredients would like to make a one-off cask of their popular bitter, I’m sure I can supply a decent bag of the goods.

Not naming names or anything, but a cask of this at the Rail? Please? Guys? Is this thing on?

Written by chuck

August 26th, 2011 at 3:34 pm

Posted in Beer and You

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2 Responses to 'The Problem With Growing Hops'

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  1. I’m still up for taking a bunch. I was planning an IPA for next week anyway, wet hop would be awesome.

    Dave S.

    8 Sep 11 at 12:32

  2. I’ll let you know how the harvest proceeds. Looks like we had a last minute spider mite infestation, so there is a good chance a chunk of the batch is lost.


    11 Sep 11 at 14:33

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