Ahh…the mystery of the Blue Lake Process. How exactly are whole cone hops frozen and shipped to breweries to help create (among other styles) fresh hop beers? “It’s a bit proprietary, you know,” explained Jim Schlichting, owner of Blue Lake Hops. Well then. What Schlichting was willing to part with was some intriguing imagery of his unique product and process.
If you don’t know: Michigan-based Blue Lake offers both commercial and homebrewers an intriguing proposition: fresh hops off the bine for brewing. Harvest, wet or fresh hop beers are all the rage in late summer and early fall, but now you can enjoy those high-impact lupulin brews all year around with the late addition of Blue Lake whole cone hops, thawed and fresh as harvest day.
While the details of the Blue Lake Process are classified, we do have a general outline: Moments after harvest, Midwest-grown hops are rushed into a refrigerated truck and sent off to a Detroit facility for specialized cryogenic preservation. Cascade, Michigan Chinook, Michigan Copper, Crystal and beyond, Blue Lake Hops supplies a variety of frozen fresh hops to breweries looking to experiment with their brands.
Heck, they’re even offering free samples. Can’t beat that sales pitch.
Now, drum roll, here is a smattering of images from the development of the Blue Lake process and the end product. Enjoy.