Organic Hops – Ottawa and the Valley

20130908_194612_Hops in hand
Organic Cascade Hops (Black River Hops 2013)

 

Humulus Lupulus

This is the Latin name for hops used in brewing beer. Cascade hops belong to the species lupulus within the genus humulus.


Cascade Hops

Cascade hops are one of many types of hops used by brewers around the world.  They have been proven to be exceptional for growing organically in the Ottawa Valley, especially  in Western Quebec at Black River Hops!

Cascade Hops (2104)
Organic Cascade Hops (Black River Hops 2014)

 

Characteristics

Cascade hops have a flowery and spicy, citrus-like quality with slight grapefruit characteristics.  These hops have high Alpha Acids, which add bitterness, but can also add exceptional aromas and flavour characteristics to beer.

Types of beer

Typically, Cascade hops can be used in brewing ales, but other options exist for more adventurous or experienced brewers.

How to grow

Cascade hops can reach many feet in height as the bines are grown on a trellis system.  It is not uncommon for these hops to reach heights of over 6m (20 ft).  Black River Hops’ trellis system is approximately 5.5 m (18 ft) in height.

Each hops plant begins as a rhizome (section of root), that was cut from another hops plant.  All hops plants are identical with this type of agricultural practice and grow in rows of equally-spaced hop hills.

In the Spring, many bines begin to emerge from the soil from each hop hill.  However, only a few are selected to be trained up the twine ropes used to support the hops plants. Pruning of the lower foliage is a best practice used to reduce the exposure of the plants to pests, as well as possible sources of mildew.

Spring Bines starting to sprout (2014)
Spring Bines starting to sprout (Black River Hops 2014)

The soil must be well-drained, and the hopsyard located in an area with full-day sunlight exposure.  Hops need a lot of water as well in order to reach their full potential of nearly 6m (20 ft).  At Black River Hops, a drip-irrigation system is in place for delivering precise amounts of water directly to the plants so that no water is wasted.

 

Black River Hopsyard (2014)
Black River Hops Organic  Hopsyard (2014)