Friday, December 6, 2013
Eager hop-picking volunteers harvested almost 200 lbs of hops at Sebago Brewing Company on Saturday.
A bag of fresh hops awaits some pilot brews at Allagash Brewing Company.
Allagash Brewing Company
Hoppy Happenings is a weekly segment that will be posted on every Wednesday to provide brief updates on the Maine craft beer scene and news.
This week's Hoppy Happenings are all about the hops. The end of summer is the time for hop harvests, and this year, several different hop farms have been providing Maine brewers with delicious fresh hops to play with. While not really on a sustainably commercial scale quite yet, Maine and New England's hop growing has seen a slow-but-steady increase over the last few years, and some brewers are being adventurous with them. It's a once-a-year opportunity to brew something super fresh, and many brewers are taking advantage of the yearly bounty.
On Saturday, more than 70 volunteers showed up to harvest close to 200 pounds of hops at Sebago Brewing Company last weekend. The Cascade hops - sourced from Elm Hill Farm in Monroe, Ducktrap river Farm in Linconville and John Fox of Pine Point - are bound for a 60 bbl batch of Local Harvest Ale which will be released in the end of September.
Some local hops from Aroostook Hops appeared at Allagash Brewing Company and are destined for two different saisons and a fresh hop ale according to their Facebook post. They'll be brewed on the pilot system, and are unlikely to be released in bottles - so keep your eyes peeled for those.
If you're up for a little side trip, Marshall Wharf in Belfast, ME released their Wet Dog today. Wet Dog (made with their Cant Dog Double IPA as the base) includes 20 lbs of fresh Simcoe hops that were flown out from Yakima Washington on the day they were harvested
If find yourself near Lewison, you could also check out Baxter Brewing Company's Wet Hopped Extra Pale Ale, one of three small-batch brews on tap at the tasting room in the brewery right now.
We also heard that Rising Tide Brewing Company got a bunch of hops from The Hop Yard a few weeks ago (and had a bit of fun picking them at the Brewery), but no news as of yet as to what beer the "fruits" of those bines will end up in.
If that's not enough hops for you, Bier Cellar is hosting a fun "Hophead Showdown" - the first of five blind tastings in a series to determine the best beers independent of their marketing, hype or reputation. According to their site, from 5:30-7:30 on Thursday September 12 you can "come in, try four different beers with no idea what they are, rank your preferences 1-4 on a sheet of paper, and when you are done, you will be given an info sheet with the beers, the hops used and some other fun data like IBU’s (bitterness units) and ABV (alcohol)." After each of the first four tastings, the winners will compete in a "Night of Champions" to determine the top brew.
If you news about Maine beer or have tips to share, email email@example.com and they might make it into a Hoppy Happening!Tweet
Carla Companion is a craft beer lover and investigator of all things beer. She started a craft beer website and blog thebeerbabe.com in 2007, sharing her thoughts as she explored what was new in beer, as well as brewery visits, trips and "beer adventures." Moving to Portland in 2009, she found herself surrounded by the Maine beer community and has been exploring it ever since.
In her blog, Carla profiles craft beer (and some mead and cider, too) being brewed in Maine, as well as looks into the people, places and stories behind the beer that makes the community so vibrant. Join Carla on her beer adventures and advice on where to get the best, newest, and most interesting fermented drinks around.
Carla can be contacted at askthebeerbabe [at] gmail.com or on twitter at @beerbabe.