We’ve been having daydreams about tractors rolling through hopyards. We’ve been sitting at our desks, gazing off into the distance (mouths agape) and imagining long, green bines being trimmed from trellis wires and placed into mounds. We dream wave to smiling farmhands happily gathering these hop mounds into large trucks and trailers (before we can jump in them), driving anxiously to an onsite processing facility.
Equally energetic workers emerge from a large barn structure, and we have a vision of them taking these lovely hop bines and loading them into a series of stripping machines, conveyor belts, dribble belts, fans, kilns and a baling press. Two hundred-pound bales come shooting out at the end, and we are there watching it all, enjoying a beer and pretending like we’re working.
Soon, these dreams will become reality when Craft Brewing Business travels to Oregon to visit Rogue Farms during the final days of its hop harvest, and until then, we’ll continue losing large amounts of time to hop-related fantasies. Just last week, Rogue Farms started shooting us images and info of its eighth annual harvest. Over the next four weeks, Rogue’s eight varieties of proprietary hops will be picked, stripped, sorted, kilned, cooled and baled before being driven 77 miles to the Rogue brewery in Newport, Ore. Soon, we’ll be there to capture it all.
This year, the global production of hops is set to rise 21 percent, the highest in seven years. Hop acreage in the Northwest alone is up 17 percent, a record high. Rogue Farms has even planted an additional 10 acres this year, bringing its total hop acreage to 52. This accounts for .039059422 percent of global hop acreage, which is actually pretty impressive. From the press release:
“The hop market has changed a lot since we became farmers in 2008,” said Brett Joyce, President of Rogue Ales. “The ingredients we grow at Rogue Farms are by far the most expensive ingredients we use, but we’re able to guarantee our supply and quality as the demand for hops, especially the aroma varieties like we grow at Rogue Farms, explodes across the country.”