What’s going on with European Hops?

OK … I know I just said that I wouldn’t be posting too often, but that first post doesn’t really count does it?  Let’s say it doesn’t.

Now that we got that out of the way, We traveled to Europe last month to visit hop friends all over Europe in order to get a better feeling about where things are now and what we might be able to expect from this year’s crop.  We learned a lot.

In short, we learned there’s a growing demand for American aroma hop varieties all over Europe, from Belgium to Yugoslavia (that was as close as I could get to looking like A to Z using the countries I could think of in under a minute – yes, I know Yugoslavia doesn’t technically exist anymore) 🙂

A lot of German Wolf hop picking machines are leaving Germany, some for warmer climates and quite a few are heading across the pond to start a new life in the US.  One of the inscriptions on the Statue of Liberty says it best:

“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.”

We welcome these new hop picking machines that have immigrated to the US with open arms as the growing trend of hop growers around the US is a great trend in the right direction to supply brewers with fresh hops and locally grown hops as there is definitely going to be more difficulty getting enough of these from traditional Pacific Northwest sources going forward.  The question that lingers is what does all this movement of hop picking machines do to the potential production capacity for Germany in the coming years?  That’s a separate blog post all by itself.  More on that later!

Unfortunately, A lot of European hops are already spoken for, but some still remain.  If the hot dry summer that is predicted comes to fruition, there may be a little trouble getting your favorite European hop varieties as some countries are quite heavily sold.  We’re not saying there’s going to be a deficit of hops this year because it’s way too early to tell what’s going to happen, but if there are any hiccups along the way, that’s a possibility.  We’ll keep our fingers crossed for good growing conditions so the hops, aroma and alpha make it through the summer to harvest.