Posted by: chelseabrewingco | September 21, 2009

Catskill Hop Harvest

Hops at the Farmer's Museum of Cooperstown, NY

Hops at the Farmer's Museum of Cooperstown, NY

On a Monday morning in mid August two men left NYC to meet two men in NJ to go back in time…….

Chelsea Brewery’s brewers, Chris and Mark, an elderly English man known as Skinner, and Ian Phillips crept up the winding roads through the woods on a quest to harvest as many hops as possible. Our destination for this trip would be the Farmer’s Museum in Cooperstown, NY. The Farmer’s Museum, practices the farming methods and techniques from days of old such as using oxen to plow the fields, and good old fashioned manure to help vegetables grow. They also grow a bounty of hops. Upstate NY used to be the largest producing region for the hop industry in times before prohibition, but a disease called, Downy Mildew damaged the crops so badly many farms shut down. Prohibition was the final nail in the coffin for many small hops farms in NY, because if you’re not putting your hops into beer, there aren’t many other things you can use a huge volume of hops for.

Chris uses an antique tool, to help pull a hop pole from the ground.

Chris uses an antique tool, to help pull a hop pole from the ground.

At the farmer’s museum, the hops are grown up vertical saplings. Most of the plants were around 20 feet high, and the number of plants was somewhere around 80. It was a beautiful sight to see a massive green wall of hops.

Mark and Skinner eye them up.

Mark and Skinner eye them up.

After the poles were pulled from the ground we brought them to the shade to pick in comfort with the flies and the chickens.

Mark is probably making fun of Skinner.

Mark is probably making fun of Skinner.

About 14 plants were picked on this Monday afternoon yielding 15Lbs of hops, and with plans to return in early September, more hops harvested will be able to brew about 50 BBls of NYC’s finest ale.

100_0642After a long day, Mark and Chris march back to our car, and we our trek back to NYC and back to reality. You can expect to see CBC’s Catskill Fresh Hopped IPA in late September. It is sure to be an amazing beer, with lots of unique flavor, and lots of care and planning into it’s creation. This was an amazing experience that makes you appreciate the history of hop farmers and the simple joys of life.

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Responses

  1. I dont know If I said it already but …Hey good stuff…keep up the good work! :) I read a lot of blogs on a daily basis and for the most part, people lack substance but, I just wanted to make a quick comment to say I’m glad I found your blog. Thanks,)

    …..Frank Scurley


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