The sacred of all fall traditions in craft beer has arrived, fresh local wet/dry hopped beers! Until recently Maine has not had an abundance of access to fresh locally grown hops. Not until 3 years ago when the Hop Yard came into creation did Mainers expect locally grown hops in their beers. Hops were grown in New York, California, Washington, etc. and shipped to us here in Vacationland. New England is turning into a new epicenter for heavenly hoppy beers.
The hop yard started as a humble 1.5 acre space in Fort FairField 3 years ago by Geoff Keating and Ryan Houghton. After a year of trial and error, he decided to utilize another 15 acre lot in Gorham to grow more hops. The first year of existence in Fort Fairfield gave them an eye opening experience on what to do better in Gorham from the ground up. This time around in Gorham they purchased better wooden beams for holding up the bines from the start.
The hops in Gorham are still young but this year they were ready to prove themselves in beers from 13 different Maine breweries and local homebrewers.
Sebago Brewing Company held their annual hop picking party at the brewery in Gorham a few weeks ago using hops form The Hop Yard. The land that they chose is a 7th generation piece of farmland. They used a new hop picking machine as well as hand picking the sweet, sweet hop flowers. These local hops are being used in Sebago’s annual Local Harvest Ale.
Rising Tide Brewing Company also held their own hop picking party a week later. Rising Tide invited everyone to help them pick hops so they can wet hop a batch of their new beer called Wet.
On October 18th from 12-4PM In’Finiti Fermentation and Distillation is having a celebration of the Hop Yard’s harvest this season by taping all 13 wet hopped beers from the Maine breweries that used their hops. Only 140 tickets are available at $40 apiece. A ticket will get you a custom glass with 12 samples. Maine has never seen an event like this before with locally hopped only beers on tap.