We landed in Portland today. We promptly picked up our pimp sled (a Hyundai Elantra) and headed directly to Rogue headquarters for an interview with president Brett Joyce at the nearby Green Dragon (but that is another story my friends). Right now, we’re navigating the Oregon countryside, finding our way to Rogue Farms in haunted Independence, Ore. We’re partnering with Rogue Ales and Spirits this week to celebrate the final days of the 2016 hop harvest, and we’ll be sharing this boots-on-the-ground experience with CBB readers all week long.
We’ll be stationed in Rogue’s Hop N Bed farmhouse for the next few days, which is nestled in the lupulin Valhalla that is the Willamette Valley. The hop yards surround the farmhouse, and a quick walk onto the property produces potbellied pigs, osprey nests, turkeys, a pond full of large-mouth bass and homegrown gardens of pumpkins, corn, jalapeno, hazelnuts and beyond. Everything is fed by a blistered Oregon sun out here and then quenched with the rain shadow of Mt. Hood. Winter floods overflow the Willamette River, which regenerates the fertile soil and only sits a few minutes’ jog from the 100-plus-year-old farmhouse we’re staying in (the nearby hop processing plant and Chatoe Rogue Tasting Room are even closer).
In honor of our arrival, we wanted to get a good handle on the eight major hop varieties that Rogue Farms has grown out here in Independence during 2016 (they grow 10 in total, but more on that later). Today’s eight-year-old hopyard is actually located on the former John I Hauss Alluvial Farm, which was once home to the world’s largest hop trellis. This year, Rogue Farms has grown its trellis larger too, planting an additional 10 acres, bringing its total hop acreage to 52. This accounts for .039059422 percent of global hop acreage, which is actually pretty impressive. What varieties are they harvesting for their GYO (grow your own) beers? Let’s break them down: