It's that time of year when fresh hops are being harvested. Most of these hops are dried or pellitized to keep them fragrant and preserved for year-round brewing, but if a brewer uses them right away, it can create a beer with more hop fragrance, flavour and character. These brews are typically called Harvest Ales. In the Ottawa-area we've received confirmation that Beyond the Pale Brewing Company, Cassel Brewery and Big Rig Brewery are currently brewing Harvest Ales.
To learn more about hop farming we interviewed Daniel Sabourin, owner of NationHops in St-Bernardin, Ontario.
Ottawa Beer Events: Can you tell us a little about yourself and why you decided to open NationHops?
Daniel Sabourin (Nation Hops): I decided to open NationHops in 2010; I had been working in the dairy industry since 1994. They told me they were going to sell and if I wanted to stay in agriculture that they would help me out. They supplied me with machinery and cedar posts to set up my yard, and I am really grateful for the help and advice I have received from the Gauthier's during my time with them!
Which varieties do you grow and how are they sold?
I sell Cascade, Hallertauer, Mount Hood, Nugget, Willamette, Perle, Zeus, Kent-Golding, Centennial and Chinook in dried leaf mostly, but in October pelletized will also be available.
What's the most surprising thing you've learned as a farmer?
Never assume everything will be fine and check and re-check. Nothing goes according to plan, we are at mother natures bidding!
What are some tips for growing hops at home?
If you plan on growing at home try to get plants that are as resistant to pest and mildew as possible. For better yields use good soil not close to a building and they don't like to be submerged.
What is your personal favorite hop variety and why?
Cascade is probably my favorite. It established very fast for me with a good yield and I love the citrus aroma.
You can learn more about NationHops and their products from their website or follow them on Facebook (NationHops).