Saturday, July 29, 2006
America has a long history of growing hops, both wild and farmed. From the ubiquitous Cascade hops that now grow in abundance in Oregon to the American Saaz, the brethren of the Czech variety that helps to make such great Pilsner. A hundred or so years ago most of America's hops grew along the upper East Coast, however due to a downy mildew blight, it moved to the west where it now resides in places like Idaho and the aforementioned Oregon. However, that may soon change thanks to one man that saw a Budweiser commercial. Retired mechanic Rick Courcy bought about 90 acres in Maine, and couldn't decide what to grow until he saw a beer commercial and decided on hops. He has since imported stalks from England and is in the first year of growth where they are already have grown to 10 Ft which is pretty amazing in the first year. Another key to his endeavor is that they are grown organically, no pesticides, no chemicals. Its definitely good to see that hops farming is moving back to its origins and it will be interesting to find out how they grow and what flavors they add to the end product....Beer.