On one of the first days where the hints of autumn could be felt in the air and seen in the color of the daylight, it was only fitting that we spent the first day of the holiday weekend brewing up our first harvest ale. Sometime in the midst of this past spring we nurtured to health our first hop plant rhizome which exceed our expectations in terms of size (in the ballpark of 15 feet) and output (almost 5oz) for it’s first year as part of our brewery. While grain and water mingled in our mash-tun and Led Zeppelin II played in the background, we climbed ladder and fence to harvest what this season had bestowed for our soon to be ale. With hands sticky from the fresh lupulin, we pitched all of our Cascade hops into the latter stages of our boil. If all goes according to plan, we’ll be drinking a rich deep mahogany colored ale with an inviting hop aroma and a toasty malt backbone as summer fades in the rearview mirror.
Regardless of yield, it was extremely satisfying to brew a beer with hops that we grew and harvested minutes before adding them directly to our boiling wort, especially when we didn’t expect the plant to produce in it’s first year. Hopefully next year our first plant will do even better and we’ll be as lucky with yet to be born siblings as we expand our personal hop farm.