It has been a while since I was last up at Hop Head Farms. In the eternity between visits they have gone through harvest season on their own yards, finished the oast, built a new expanded hop fridge, and gotten shipment of German hops to process. Quite a bit has been going on to say the least.
Recently they held a brewer’s open house (ya, I must be special. I got to hang out too). The event was held for two goals. The first being to show off the completed facilities to those who had not yet seen the finished work. The other was to introduce area brewers to the new stock as well as set orders for the next year.
With the limited growing space of most hop farms throughout the world, breweries need to plan ahead for their hop needs. At times this can make it difficult for new breweries coming into the market. A few years ago when we experienced a hop shortage, the hops available were already spoken for by existing breweries.
Unlike a restaurant where it is possible to change a menu based on availability, a brewery and the beers they make require consistency from batch to batch, year to year. When they plan out their hop purchases they are looking over the amount of beer they intend to make over the course of that year. Breweries get their orders established as early as possible to ensure they will have what they need.
Aside from just the business side of things, an event like this is a great time to get together with the people who make the beer we drink. Sadly, I still haven’t had a chance to fully explore the completed oast. But I spent some time with old and new friends.
Time for a pint…