Seeing Hops for the First Time
One of the coolest experiences of the Beer Bloggers Conference, if not the coolest, was a trip to Goschie Farms in Silverton. What started out as a 45 minute easy commute turned into a 2 hour 45 minute bus ride. What didn’t suck about the traffic jam was we had brewers on our bus sharing their beer along the way (best traffic jam ever). Here’s an untappd view of the beers sampled to and from the Hop Farm:
Coming from Western, Massachusetts I am used to seeing fields and fields of corn but as we pulled up you see fields and fields of Hops. This was truly a sight to be seen. We pull up to the one of the main buildings where the hop vines were already picked and ready to be stripped and dried. The smell was unbelievable as you can imagine. After the stripping they move to one of many conveyor belts to the drying area. We got stand on the ledge and look out at all of the hops drying. It was at this moment I was giddy. I felt like a beer kid in a hop candy store. Hops as far as the eye can see!
We then walked to another building where they pile all of the dried hops as they wait to be bailed. These, as you see, are more like mountains than piles. I stuck my hand in and grabbed some fresh hops and tossed them in the air like a kid in a ball pit at Chuck E Cheese. I have never seen this many hops in one location before. We walked on to see some bailing of hops. This came full circle later that weekend we went to BridgePort Brewing Co. and saw they were using a bail made at Goschie Farms.
Following the tour was a fantastic cook out style dinner put on by the locals. Beer (obviously) accompanied great food and something you don’t see or eat every day, Hop Brownies! The recipe can be found here (link) and I highly suggest you give them a try as they don’t seem that hard to make.
In conclusion this was a total beer geek experience. Cleaning the drool off my shirt was a small price to pay for visiting this hop heaven. The bus ride back was similar to the ride there, beer sampling and making new friends but the whole bus now smelled of fresh hops, and that was awesome. If you have time please check out the rest of my photos from this Hop Farm trip on my Facebook page.