Archive for March, 2009

Hopyard Additions

Well, Saturday I received my new hop rhizomes from freshops.   Previously I had one each of Cascade and Centennial which I have used the last 2 years in my fall IPAs.   I really wanted to add some hops I could age for lambics and also use in a variety of belgian and sour beers.   I also wanted something that had a decent yield and would hopefully grow fairly well in the northern Illinois climate….After a bit of research I decided on Mt Hood and Willamette.

Mt Hood is a Hallertauer hybrid and is generally regarded as a good substitute for many of the european/noble hops.  (specifically Hallertauer, Liberty, Crystal,  and Strisselspalt)

Willamette is a Fuggle hybrid also generally considered a good substitute for a variety of european/noble hops.  (specifically Styrian Golding, Target, Fuggle, Tettnanger, and Glacier)

Both Mt. Hood and Willamette are higher yielding and more vigorous than the parent varieties, and from what I have read, should do pretty well in my area.

I am hoping to harvest enough each year that I can brew a few Belgian style ales or German lagers, but also put some away to age for future year’s lambic production.  This being the first year I am not expecting much so I will not split the harvest and either use them all in a tripel or put them away for a lambic in a couple of  years.

I am hoping to get these in the ground this weekend once I find a good spot in the yard.  The Centennial and Cascade are doing quite well where they are so I will probably put these in that general vicinity (South side of house)

wild west

While out on vacation in Arizona I got to try several beers not normally available in the Chicago area.   Due to the heat I was really craving IPAs, so while browsing the aisles of the local BevMo I picked up a few to try…

Dechutes Inversion IPA

Left Coast Hop Juice Double IPA

Great Divide Fresh Hop

Alaskan IPA

Additionally, I picked up the delicious Alaskan Amber, New Belgium’s Mighty Arrow Pale Ale, Kona Longboard Island Lager.  My favorites, of course, were the Alaskan brews…AK breweries can do no wrong in my book.   Hop juice was a nice, sweet yet bitter double IPA, but not as good as Hopslam, Maximus, or Dreadnaught.  Dechutes was less impressive yet.  The Mighty arrow was my least favorite as it had a strange aftertaste, and wasn’t as hoppy as it smelled.  The Fresh Hop by great divide on the other hand was hops, hops, hops.  (that means GOOD)  Very tasty and not so bitter that you couldn’t have a few.   The Kona was a nice “lawnmower beer” better than MGD or Bud, but nothing to write home about.  So, while it was fun to try new things, I really should have stuck with what I know….Alaskan breweries make GREAT beer and I should have just got a 12er of each the IPA and Amber.