Associated Press writer Patrick Whittle reported earlier this week that, “Geoff Keating grows a prized plant at the northeastern edge of the country, some 3,000 miles away from the region of America most associated with his crop — hops.
“Americans’ growing thirst for bitter, flavor-packed styles of beer has brought an unprecedented demand for hops, so growers are looking to new places to harvest its flowers.”
“Hops are used to provide bitterness, aroma and flavor to beer. It the U.S., the vast majority are grown in Washington state, with significant numbers grown in Oregon and Idaho. But hop growers in states like Michigan, New York and Maine, where Geoff Keating runs the Hop Yard farm in Gorham and Fort Fairfield, are starting to ramp up production.”
The AP article noted that, “The growth dovetails with craft beer’s growth, and its passion for using local ingredients.”
Mr. Whittle added that, “Prices for hops have also been high in recent years, even as the total amount of hop acreage and pounds of hops produced hits record highs. The price of hops can vary widely based on the variety — there are hundreds, some of which are proprietary — but the average price of U.S. hops rose from $3.67 to $4.38 per pound last year.
“The availability of hops can be a concern for brewers, especially those who trade in hoppy beer, and local growing can help make a difference, said Tim Adams, brewmaster of Oxbow Beer, in Portland, Maine.”