The Beauty of Fresh Hop Season

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In honor of this weekend’s Hood River Hops Fest, which I consider to be the official kickoff to fresh hop beer season, here is a gallery of this year’s hop harvest, including photos and videos from “SNOB” Ritch and myself.

A couple of years ago The New School and “SNOB” Ritch made this video that I think best explains the hop harvest:

Hop Harvesting 101 from Ritch Marvin on Vimeo.

Recently he also filmed these interviews with Jamie Floyd of Ninkasi Brewing, Bobby Birk of Upright Brewing, and Jacob Leonard of Breakside Brewery about their fresh hop beers this year:

Freh Hop 2013 from Ritch Marvin on Vimeo.

Touring the hop fields is one of the most fun trips of the year, and the rising bines full of full hop cones amid beautiful skies is one of the most imminently photographable scenes in brewing.

The towering bines reach for the sky in a way that will make you believe there is a beer god.

Workers walk down the line of plants and cut the rope that they climb up from on the bottom. Here you can see hop bines already cut from the bottom swaying in the summer breeze.

 Photo above: Hop farmer Doug Weathers of Sodbuster Farms looks down the line of Cascades being picked.

After the hop bines have been cut from the bottom, a machine runs down the line cutting the ropes from the top and dropping the full bines down into the flatbed of a truck, where farmhands in rain jackets catch the bounty and pile it up.

The above photo shows fresh hops off the bine, split open so that you can see the lupulin glands (the small yellow bits of the flower/cone).

The two photos above show hops drying on large cloth sheets with heat coming from below. They are finally pulled back into rollers as the hops–now dry and crisp–roll off the canvas and onto conveyor belts, then onto a lower floor where workers sweep and bulldoze them into piles to be packaged in bales.

A fresh hop from the harvest soaking in a cup of beer enjoyed at the Hop Harvest this year at Sodbuster Farms.

All photos and videos copyright The New School.

Founder of The New School and most frequent contributor Ezra Johnson-Greenough has worked in the craft beer industry for almost 10 years, doing everything from illustrating beer labels to bartending at renowned beer bars and breweries like Belmont Station, Apex, Laurelwood and Upright Brewing. He has also had a hand in creating events like the Portland Fruit Beer Festival, Portland Beer Week, and the Brewing up Cocktails series. He is available for freelance consultation in marketing, events, graphic design and branding. Contact: [email protected]

1 Comment

  1. Anonymous

    September 27, 2013 at 7:34 pm

    Awesome photos. I sense the photographer’s true love for the subject.

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