The Land: Hop yard tour

August 18, 2020

The Land: Hop yard tour

The Land is a presentation of Peterson Farms, Inc., telling the story of local agriculture. 

Video by Rob Alway, Editor-in-Chief

AMBER TOWNSHIP — Mason County is home to several dozen acres of hop yards, growing one of the key ingredients to beer. The hop is a perennial bine (not vine). In the spring the bines are trained around strings and will climb about 18 feet into the air. They begin flowering in mid-summer and form into cones. Inside the green cone is a small yellow substance called lupulin, this is what gives beer its flavor. Harvest is determined by the alpha acid levels of the lupulin. The bines are cut down and run through a stationary harvester, which operates similar to a bean picker, separating the cones from the bines. The bines are discarded and the cones are typically dried, baled and pelletized. Some brewers prefer to use “wet hops”, which are hops that are not dried. This is often called a “harvest ale” or a “wet hop ale.” 

Many of those hops will be harvested in the next few weeks. Here’s a little tour of a row of chinook hops at Alway’s Shady Lane Farm. 

Editor’s note: The editor is part owner of Alway’s Shady Lane Farm.

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This story is copyrighted © 2020, all rights reserved by Media Group 31, LLC, PO Box 21, Scottville, MI 49454. No portion of this story or images may be reproduced in any way, including print or broadcast, without expressed written consent.

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