Even though we are still in the frosty depths of Winter, Spring is right around the corner and with Spring will come the opportunity to start a garden. If you love the taste of fresh hop beers, this might be the year to add hops to your garden's repertoire.
Starting in early Spring we will begin selling hop rhizomes, which are basically the "root starter" of the hop plant. We will have over a dozen different varieties, from Northwest favorites like Cascade and Columbus to European classics like Fuggle and Saaz.
But how do you grow them? While it's not too hard to grow them (they love lots of sunlight, for starters) we do have several books for those so inclined to do a little research before starting a hop garden...
Homegrown Hops (An Illustrated How-To-Do-It Manual)
by David R. Beach - $12.00
Portland metro area resident and former hop farmer David Beach covers all the basics in this short but comprehensive book on growing, harvesting and preparing your hops for storage. Full of good pictures for reference and honest information, this is a great book if you want to get "the skinny" on what it takes to grow your own hops.
The Homebrewer's Garden
by Joe Fisher & Dennis Fisher - $14.95
This book is probably for the slightly more adventurous or scientifically inclined, as it covers growing not only hops, but malts and brewing spices as well. Still, this book dedicates a 45 page chapter to the growing and processing of homegrown hops, with in depth descriptions of minerals for the soil, vine training techniques, and attributes of the different hop varieties.
For the Love of hops (The Practical Guide to Aroma, Bitterness and the Culture of Hops)
by Stan Hieronymus - $19.95
Want to be the rocket scientist of hops? Read this book. Everything from growing hops, what the different chemicals in hops are and what they do, the history of the plant, as well as identifying "bad" hops. There is even an entire chapter devoted just to the art of drying hops. A great book for the mad scientist at heart.