You’ve probably heard by now that hops are one of the most important and influential ingredients that go into any craft beer. But why? They not only contribute to the bitterness of beer, but they add flavour, aroma and help preserve the beer. Finding the right hops is a tall order and no hops are the same; everything from the way the hops are processed to the ground they’re grown in affects the flavour profiles of your favourite beer. While most of our beers are brewed with dry hops, we’ve got a wet-hop beer brewing away, and we wanted to shed some light on our hop growers and this different hopping method. After all, it only comes once a year when the harvest is ready!

img_0707img_0703

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

IMG_0697

Jeff from Collective Arts & Laurie from Clear Valley Hops

Here’s where Laurie Thatcher-Craig and her husband John come into the picture. About five years ago they decided they needed a change of pace, so they left their jobs and started a hop farm! With Laurie’s data analysis skills, she realized there could be potential in the hop growing industry with the growing craft beer trend. Fast forward to 2016, and Clear Valley hops, located at the base of the Blue Mountains just outside Collingwood, is providing over 11,000 lbs of hops to brewers across Ontario and even out to Nova Scotia.

Using Clear Valley for our Wet Hop Wheat Ale was not only an easy choice, but the wet hop process requires a quick turnaround time, so the hop farm needs to be in close proximity to the brewery. Wet hops skip the usual drying stage and are freshly-picked off the vine and shipped to the brewery and used within 24 hours. Unlike dry hops which are much more predictable, brewers have to use 4-6 times more physical mass of wet hops.

Thanks to their 74 acre hop farm, with over 18 varieties of hops, we were able to find the hops we were looking for. We received our first batch of Chinook wet hops, which showcase flavours reminiscent of the spice trails of the Far East with pine overtones. They will bring an aroma of spicy, piney, and grapefruit tones to our new brew.

We can thank Clear Valley for bringing hop growing back to Ontario so that we are able to make a wet hop brew. From the 1950’s to about 2012, hop growing in Ontario was dormant (which means no wet hop beers for ANY Ontario brewery). Like any new business, Laurie and John have had their challenges, but we’re so happy they’ve pushed through and continue to provide us with locally grown hops. Moving forward, Laurie is hoping that the untraditional wet-hop beer will become more popular now that they are able to offer a quality product within a short travel distance. For Clear Valley, “Bringing the crop back to Ontario and sharing in the success of good beer with local breweries,” is what brings them their greatest joy.

Our Wet Hop Wheat Ale will be available in the bottle shop and bars/restaurants beginning Sept. 30th! Make sure you get your hands on some.

One Response to “Clear Valley Hops, Hurray for (Wet Hop) Beer”

  1. Happy 3rd Anniversary! I am excited to read about the local hops being used and am looking forward to tasting the Wet Hop Wheat Ale. Keep up the great work!

    Cheers!
    Greg

    Reply

Leave a Reply

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

Collective Arts Brewing