Beer is arguably over a ten-thousand-year-old recipe, dating back to the time when cereals were first cultivated, and helping to form civilization as we know it. Four simple ingredients; water, malted barley, hops and yeast. Four simple ingredients that when varied by degrees and added to with additional ingredients form the wonderful beverage we can now imbibe in thousands of different flavor profiles! There is no better time in the history of civilization to be a beer lover. In our opinion, it's also one of the greatest times to be hop growers as well!
At Weathertop Farm and Hopyard we are dedicated to the craft of growing quality hops for brewers dedicated to the craft of brewing. We grow our hops sustainably because we believe it will impart the best flavor and characteristics of our wonderful New York glacial soils into the hops that we grow.
Growing sustainably is not easy, neither is brewing a spectacular beer. Some of the best things in life come from a little hard work and knowledge about how to do things in conjunction with what nature gives. Our brewers all tell us how pungent our hops are and how well they work in their recipes, confirmation of our methodology.
We currently cultivate four varieties; Cascade, Chinook, Nugget and Willamette under our three acres of trellis. 2018 will bring additional plantings of two acres, and two more varieties.
Our hop growing techniques, trellis design and growing season management systems have been developed by replicating German style growing techniques. Our Upstate New York climate is almost identical in rainfall amounts, temperature and seasonality to Hallertau, in Bavaria, Germany. The main hop growing region in Germany. Replicating systems used in Europe for the highest quality hop production allows us to manage the growing season, pests, mildew and fertility all with tried and true techniques and technology. This allows us to bring the highest quality hops to local brewers.
We’ve imported equipment from Germany for seasonal maintenance of our yards through a series of unhilling, crowing and hilling, just like in Bavaria. We’ve also imported our second Wolf Harvester, the latest a WHE170, reconditioned it with new motors and parts, and installed it at our barn using VFD’s to drive the European motors at the speed at which they are meant to turn. It is the cleanest picking machine in the area, and a step up from our old reconditioned WHE140.
The next development for our farm will be the installation of a German made baling system and a Soller self-harvesting trailer, a Wolf 3-drawer drying system and reconditioning unit. It will also allow us to harvest each of our varieties at the most optimum time for the best quality by giving us the capacity to dry thousands of pounds a day rather than hundreds. Using tried and true German technology is one way we are developing our systems to produce consistently high quality NYS hops.
Most of our hops are processed into pellets each year and then packaged into 11lb/5kg mylar re-sealable packages that are nitrogen purged before sealing for freshness. They are always stored in cold storage prior to shipping to our customers. We also have a small nitrogen purge vacuum sealer so we can re-process those larger bags into smaller 1lb. and 1oz. sizes for homebrewers. Please see our contact page if you are a brewer looking for NY hops and we’d be happy to share our pricing and availability. Home brewers, please visit our shop for sourcing smaller packaging directly.