Catching up on hop news from various outposts:
– The Barth-Haas Group has released its 2016 Hop Market and Crop Development Report, and the news continues to be pretty good.
“Growing conditions in all regions has progressed as planned, with most countries expanding their hop acreage for 2016. Specifically, Australia alone has increased their acreage from 488 ha in 2015 to 545 ha in 2016. A total change of 57 ha (an 11.7% increase). [1 hectare=2.47 acres]
“The US has now become the largest hop producer in the world, adding a total of 3,110 ha in 2016. China is the only country amongst the larger hop producers with a declining acreage, estimated to be down by 324 ha from 2015 due to local industry conditions.”
– Hopslist founder Julian Healey sent me a copy of his Kindle book, The Hops List: 265 Beer Hop Varieties From Around the World. It is astonishingly comprehensive, including varieties I had not heard of. It’s going to take me a while to get through it. As Healey explains at his website, he’s “not a hop farmer and he’s certainly not an agricultural scientist. He’s just a 32-year-old guy that really loves brewing his own beer.” He’s a digital marketing consultant and writer by trade who has mined the internet for a surprising amount of information about these varieties. He also keeps a list of the most popular varieties at his website.
Because it is a Kindle book he’ll be able to update it more easily. You may be thinking “new varieties” but I am thinking additional information, like 4MMP content and the percentage of geraniol, linalool, etc. (once, of course, hop scientists better understand which of the 500-plus compounds in hops are a precursor to various aromas and flavors).
– This would appear to be a sign of how interested brewers are in finding just about any aroma new and different. YCHHOPS is selling eight varieties of experimental hops. One of these, previously known as HBC 291, recently got a name. Expect to see a lot more of Loral by the end of the teens.
– Michigan hop scouting report. Remember, growing hops is agriculture. Reacting to Michigan State University Extension’s report that “Japanese beetles have begun emerging in hopyards as far north as west central Michigan” is all in a days work.
– One of the challenges for would-be hop growers outside the Northwest is infrastructure. Michigan, New York and Wisconsin reached that tipping point a few years ago. Now Minnesota is as well.
– Hydroponic hops? Beer Advocate had a story on this as well. It works for marijuana, but isn’t that more of a cash crop?