Hop Madness 2004

Michelle, Barley and I just returned from this year’s Hop Madness. It was graciously hosted at Brooks Tree Farm just north of Salem, and included a tour of the hop harvest, brewing with fresh hops, a homebrew competition, great tunes from Los Mex Pistols, and general revelry.

The hop tour was excellent. We visited a local grower during the harvest. We watched the trucks unloading full vines, putting them onto hooks that fed the vines into a picker, then chopped and spit out the vines, sans hop cones. After touring the inside of the picking machine, it was on to the kiln. Giant beds of freshly picked hops on dryers. Hop cones floating, lifted by jets of hot air. To the side of the dryers, 12 foot tall piles of dried cones ready to be packed and shipped. I made the mistake of of peeling some congealed humulone resin off the packing conveyor. It was too much bitterness, but worth the experience.

I’ve put pictures from the event up too.

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