GERVAIS, Ore. (KOIN) — After a long off-season slumber, one of the hottest hop varieties on the market is beginning its ascent into the overhead lines from which they’ll be harvested late this summer.
The Strata hop developed by researchers at Oregon State University is filled with tropical flavor features craft brewers can’t seem to get enough of. Our cooler wet weather in the last couple weeks has made it easier for the hops to develop.
“The rain that we’ve been receiving, it loosens up the ground, it just creates a nice, wet bed for the hops to be placed into,” said Bill Cahill, the manager of Coleman Hop Farm. “It just creates the optimal growing condition.”
Late last summer, workers harvested the hops. They went through a processing facility,the cones were separated from the vines and dried to just the right specifications before being shipped off to beer makers in 200-pound bales.
Like wine grapes, people have become pretty discerning about their hops. Thirty years ago a hop was a hop that went into big-name nationwide beer. Now it’s a boutique item sought by brewers trying to add a distinct taste to their particular brand of IPA. And as the hop grower will tell you the flavor of beer all starts with a hop boil.
“The more tropical, the more fruity, the more citrusy the better,” Cahill said. “It seems to be the thing that brewers and consumers seem to enjoy in a nice cold IPA.” }
It’s still early. The hops still need lots of summer sunshine before harvest, but it’s off to a good start for Oregon’s hop farmers as the hops that make up the special sauce that goes into IPA begins a slow summer crawl toward the sunshine.