Originally Posted at The Beer Nut
Even though we’re not brewing beer yet, there’s lots going on at the brewery. We will be open to the public three days a week starting June, 2. Our hours will be Thursday/Friday from 3-7 and Saturday from 12-4. We invite you to stop by, look around, and chat with us. Our gift shop will be open so you can check out our t-shirts and other merchandise too.
One major goal we have for the brewery is to help promote our local community. One way we will be doing that is by teaming up with local artists to provide a new venue for sharing their work. In the brewery, we have a large open wall that measures eight feet by thirty feet. Local artists will have the opportunity to come into the brewery and create a mural on the wall. The first mural is currently being designed and work on it will begin shortly. We plan to expand on this community initiative by enabling local artists to have a show at the brewery and display their work. We think having area artists involved with Jack’s Abby Brewing will be a lot of fun for everyone involved.
As miserable as the rain has been for the past two weeks, the weather has been great for the garden. A few of the hops have already made their way onto the strings where they will eventually climb to a full nine feet. With the weather turning warmer, the rest of our plants should be in the ground shortly. If you stop by, take a look at the garden. It is really shaping up to be something great.
[Originally published at The Beer Nut]
One of the most exciting projects we have going on at Jack’s Abby Brewing is our hop project. The endeavor started innocently enough when my mother and I brought back a Cascade hop plant from a trip to Washington in 2005. It was planted at our parent’s farm in Vermont on the pool trellis. Since day one, we have used entirely organic methods to nurture the plants.
We have gone through many expansions while experimenting with a variety of hop strains. To expand our hop growing knowledge and success, our father joined the North East Hop Alliance, eventually serving on their board of directors. In addition to the original Cascade plant, we now also have Zeus, Centennial, Willamette, and Nugget varieties. These are the varieties that have proven to be able to thrive in Vermont’s climate.
In 2008, the initial hop-growing area was expanded to accommodate larger yields. Four rows of sixteen-foot high trellises were built with wires stretching 130 feet. Each trellis supports 50 bines. In 2010, the hop yard was doubled to 8 rows.
We recently built a garden outside the brewery with 20 cascade rhizomes from our original plant on the pool trellis. This hop garden gives us a chance to show off our efforts and also to experiment with some new growing methods researchers have discovered. The optimal trellis height to grow hops is 16 feet. A lot of work was put in to discover what height works best for growing hops when 16 feet is not an option. Researchers have learned that 9 feet is the optimal height for shorter trellises. We are experimenting with these shorter trellises for our garden outside the brewery.
Our hop-growing operation does not come close to meeting our overall demand for hops. Instead we use our crop each year for a special wet hop beer. This process involves harvesting all the hops at both locations on one day. These fresh hops are then used within 24 hours. The result is a uniquely aromatic and hoppy lager. The exact flavor depends on that year’s yield and varietal harvest. This slight variance means that we get to share something unique with you each year.
I hope that you are looking forward to trying our Wet Hop Lager as much as we are. You can also stop by the brewery at any time so see how the hops are doing.
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