The folks at Rutgers University’s Snyder Research Farm urge you to share some of your harvest with them. They want to take your hops into the lab.
The farm, located in Hunterdon County, can perform that all-important analysis to determine the hops’ alpha and beta acids, information brewers need to know to effectively use the hops, namely for bittering beer, not just for imparting aromatics.
That’s game-changing data that can be supplied locally to a craft beer support industry still trying to find its footing here in the Garden State.
It’s a timely development, too.
More and more intrepid New Jersey beer enthusiasts are trying their hand at growing hops, with encouraging results, too. Consequently, more Jersey craft brewers are making use of the growers’ harvests, creating fresh-hop ales this time of year.
Some names in the grower game include Oast House in Burlington County, whose crops have been going to Triumph brewpub and Kane Brewing (to name a couple of brewers), and suburban grower Ray Gourley, whose small plot beside his Haddon Heights home has been supplying the Tun Tavern brewpub in Atlantic City for eight years now.
Meanwhile, Brian Casse of I Drink Good Beer has the story of a Connecticut-brewed ale finished with Jersey hops from Humble Farm in Warren County. http://www.idrinkgoodbeer.com/craft-beer-blog/iron-hog/
Decades ago, Snyder Farm planted hops on a trial basis. Those efforts were well ahead of their time: New Jersey’s craft brewing industry wasn’t quite ready back in the late 1990s, and the commercial brewers of the day were less inclined to make use of aspiring hop farmers’ harvests.
It’s a far different story these days, with many more craft breweries operating in the state, and more of those brewers keenly interested in using locally grown hops.
With that as a backdrop, Rutgers ag folks headed back out into the fields of the scenic research farm in Pittstown for a new round of hop trials, with several varietals grown this summer. (A video by Beer-Stained Letter and I Drink Good Beer on the Jersey hops growers is forthcoming.)
Rob Pyne, a graduate student working on the RU hops project, is your contact for the lab analysis work. Contact Rob at rpyne [at] scarletmail.rutgers.edu or Megan at meganmu [at] scarletmail.rutgers.edu