Snapshot: Hop Harvest

Sit back, scroll and enjoy these photos from my day hanging out during hop harvest at Karridale Hop Farm a few weeks ago.

Hanging out at Karridale Hop Farm for Hop Harvest

17 February 2018

I doubt I will ever get tired of looking at fresh hop cones, it’s a wonderful assault on your senses because they look fantastic, smell amazing and they even feel great. Sadly technology doesn’t allow you to smell and touch hops here but I can definitely show you lots and lots of hops. Sit back, scroll and enjoy these photos from my day hanging out during hop harvest at Karridale Hop Farm a few weeks ago.

You can read the full article I wrote about the day, including plans for the future of the hop farm, at Crafty Pint – A Day in the Life of: A Hop Farmer

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Welcome to Karridate Cottages and Hop Farm
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Trey, one half of Karridale Hop Farm, inspecting the bines
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Trey cutting the bottom of the bines, just under where the cones start to grow. A cheeky photobomb by my dog Barley in there too!
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Trey with a Cascade hop cone, analysis of his Cascade has come back with an Alpha Acid (the stuff that makes beer bitter) reading of 11.5%, huge for a variety that is normally 5-7%
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Trey cuts the hop bines at the top and then passes them to be loaded onto the ute
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More and more hop bines
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Ready to go!

 

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But first, Trey does a little quality control
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Ken helps unload the bines, Ken comes by to lend a hand, quite fitting since he actually built the original cottages on the property
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Time to get the cones off the bine
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Slowly, slowly
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Fresh wet hops that, in this state, have about a 70% water content
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So many hops!
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Time to get them into a tray, the wire bottom allows air flow. Trey writes the variety on the front.
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Loading up the hops
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It’s very much a team effort!
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Quality control

 

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Mould is the biggest concern so you want an even layer of cones to ensure even drying
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Up Close: Pemberton ‘Wild Blend’, the variety is their own and grew in Pemberton until the mid to late 70s. Trey went looking for the plant, found some growing wild and brought it back to Karridale.
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Up Close: Perle
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Fuggles, named after the English noble hop variety
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Up Close: Pemberton Wild Blend from the tip of the cone
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Barley keeping an eye on things
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Up Close: Inside a hop cone, the golden coloured stuff is called lupulin which is where the acids, oils and resins are, basically all the good stuff brewers want
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Trays at loaded into the cabinet to dry
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Heaters are the bottom, extractor fans at the top, pulling hot air through the whole cabinet.
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As each tray gets filled, each tray is rotated in the cabinet for even drying. The hops in each tray are also shuffled around. These cones will dry overnight, ready for a brewer to use soon!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5 minutes with Trey from the Karridale Hop Farm

5 minutes with Trey from Karridale Cottages and Hop Farm talking all things beer and hops!

[photo credit: Todd Edwards – Instagram @toddy_boy]

In February I went to visit Trey and his partner Olivia from Karridale Cottages and Hop Farm in Karridale, not far from Margaret River. I had an excellent morning hearing their story, learning about their hop farm and basking in the glow of a vibrant hop field on the brink of harvest.

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Seriously, it was amazing.

You can read the article I wrote about Karridale Cottages and Hop Farm for Crafty Pint here.

As the couple put the farms first harvest behind them, a harvest that was beyond their hopes and saw them work closely with The Beer Farm and Gage Roads, I asked Trey if he wanted to answer a few more questions. The answer was a resounding yes!

Trey at Karridale Hop Farm
Karridale Hop Farm, February 2016: Inspecting Cascade Hops
How different was the craft beer scene in Australia when you arrived from the US?

When we first arrived we really had to search around and struggled to find craft beer. Mostly expensive and from Europe and the States, we found assistance from The International Beer Shop in West Leederville! Thankfully within a year, Little Creatures began brewing pale ale and the Australian craft beer scene has never looked back! Its gone from virtually no small local micro brewed beers to the awesome state that we find ourselves in today!

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Karridale Hop Farm, February 2016: Perle Hops
What was your epiphany beer, the one that made you fall in love with craft beer?

I remember my first Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, opened in my back yard by the pool when I was wagging class one afternoon in 1991! I drank half and left the other! This permanently impacted my taste buds! Beer epiphany… when I sampled my first collection of Anchor Steam Holiday Ale, 1991, ’92, ’93 and ’94, all when I was just learning to brew, these complex beasts changed beer for me!

You’re clearly passionate about beer, what made you decide to start a hop farm and not a brewery?

Hops are what set beer apart for me personally! Malt, yeast, both equally deserved, but hops are what take beer to perfect balance, and in some great examples way past the edge! I will always brew beer, hopefully well one day, but the chance to grow my favourite ingredient in a wonderful part of the world is a dream come true!

I would buy hop air fresheners if they existed!

Goldings Hops at Karridale Hop Farm
Karridale Hop Farm, February 2016: Goldings Hops
We often hear in Australia that we are 10 years behind the US, do you think this is accurate?

No, not exactly. I think, in regards to beer I do think the US relaunched craft beer for the world, including the UK, Europe and Australia. That said, after the general “catch-up” in the area of more bitter beers, with a focus on hop bitterness and floral finishes, Australia has begun to take things down a true Australian path. In my opinion, no one’s behind anyone at this stage in brewing, just different paths! Possibly the use of local ingredients is a similar path that we are in short supply of, not in the desire to use and celebrate!

Hop shortage is a hot topic, as a new farm does this concern you and how do you see the future of the hop farming industry in Australia?

Hop shortage is an interesting topic and one that won’t be fixed anytime soon! Worldwide, we brew more beer, utilising greater amounts of hops than ever before. Hop growing has not kept up the pace, simply put. I don’t think farmers like myself will have a massive impact on hop shortage, but definitely help support the push for local boutique ingredients which I love.

I do see HPA, or someone keen to get on the front foot here in Australia, increasing acreage on a large commercial scale. We have had such a positive result in southwest WA, that we are expanding our own acreage and varieties grown much quicker than expected and look forward to seeing where it takes us!
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