Visit the NC State Research Hop Yards

North Carolina’s craft beer scene is booming.  But you probably already knew that.  With over 60 breweries in the state, and recent announcements from Sierra Nevada, New Belgium and Oskar Blues that they will all also be building facilities in NC, it has become clear that North Carolina is the state for craft beer.

And with a booming beer industry, we are seeing some great strides being made towards producing local North Carolina ingredients.  AJ, from Wort&Yeast just did a great post about some awesome local folks that are producing everything from NC malt, to hops, and even yeast.

One of the best resources at the moment is the research hop yards that NC State has planted in Raleigh and in Mills River (just outside of Asheville).  Their research findings, which they are gladly sharing with anyone who is curious, are helping everyone from potential hop farmers to homebrewers who have a few bines growing in their back yard.

hops growingIf you are interested in finding out more about the great research that they are doing over at NC State (it’s hard for me to say “great” and “NC State” in the same sentence, being a Carolina alum), or if you just want to see what a commercial hop farm looks like, there are some upcoming opportunities for you to take a tour and find out more information about hop growing in NC.

On Thursday, July 5th, you can visit the Mills River hop yard.  According to associate professor and researcher Jeanine Davis, “This is not a full-fledged field day but an opportunity to view the ten varieties in their second year of growth before we start harvesting them.  The differences between varieties is pretty dramatic this year. We have experienced Downy Mildew, spider mites, and now Japanese beetles and how the varieties have reacted have been quite different.  Jeanine Davis and Kelly Gaskill will be present to answer your questions.”

This open house will take place on Thursday, July 5 from 5 PM to 7 PM at the Mountain Horticultural Crops Research Station at 74 Research Drive in Mills River, NC 28759

Next Saturday, July 14, the Raleigh research hop yard is having a “field day,” where you can tour the yard and see the hops during their peak season, with hop cones growing, prior to being harvested.  You will also be able to ask questions and find out more information about the research that has been done.

It will include indoor lectures followed by a tour of the hop yard.  Topics to be covered will include variety selection, planting tips, trellis designs, nutrient management, pest/disease issues, harvesting and drying cones, basic economic analysis, and more.

This field day will take place Saturday, July 14 from 9 AM to 12 PM at the Lake Wheeler Road Field Laboratory.

For more information, be sure to check out Jeanine Davis’ blog: http://ncalternativecropsandorganics.blogspot.com/2012/06/two-opportunities-to-visit-nc-state.html