In 1867, the first commercial hop yard in Oregon was planted by William Wells outside Buena Vista on the banks of the Willamette River. While it wasn’t much at the time, it inspired several generations of pioneering farmers to plant hops on their lands. Hops soon became the sole cash crop for a lot of families establishing farms in western Oregon.
From 1905 to 1915, Oregon was the largest hop producer in the United States. Despite Prohibition and The Great Depression, Oregon hop producers continued to thrive due to the effects on European agriculture (and brewing culture) resulting from World War I. From 1922 to 1943, Oregon regained the title of nations largest hop producer and the area around Independence was labeled the “Hop Center of the World.”
In 2007, the Agrarian began planting hops on the farm where a hundred and fifty years earlier hops were planted and farmed as far as the eye could see. Eight Northwest-bred and two old-world varieties, our hops were chosen based on our valley’s agricultural history as well as aromatic and flavor hops that can be hard to come by in today’s Northwest brewing culture of extreme hop profiles.
HOPS WE GROW…
Cascade (500 plants established 2007 & 2009)
A medium-strength aromatic hop, with strong notes of grapefruit and spicy citrus, Cascade is prevalent in many well-known craft beers. One of the first hops developed in the USDA breeding program at Oregon State University in 1971, it is a cross between a English Fuggle and a male plant from Russia. Bred for downy mildew resistance, this variety produces score of shoots and lots of dense hop cones.
Alpha acids typically range from 5-7%, making it a moderately bitter, yet bold flavored variety with a very pleasant aroma. Cascade can be used for all hop additions; it is one of the most widely used and versatile hops in North America.
Centennial (55 plants established 2008 & 2009)
Sometimes described as a Super Cascade, Centennial has a strong, yet clean citrus flavor that can also be used for aroma additions. Released in 1990, this cultivar combination of Brewers Gold, Fuggle, and East Kent Golding has a substantial level of alpha acids (9-11.5%) and can add a subtle, floral essence in the boil.
A beautiful plant, with leaves sharply serrated and a deep dark green, Centennial cones are full of dark yellow lupulin, store well, and make great hop-forward beers. One of our most coveted varieties.
Chinook (50 plants established 2011)
Introduced in 1985 resulting from a cross of a Patham Golding hop and a male cultivar, Chinook is an American brewer’s delight. A high alpha acid hop with an intriguing woodsy, near smoky character, it can even be used as a late aroma addition to produce wonderful piney, herbal notes. This hop is ideal for higher gravity beers.
Even though Chinook is characterized by moderate production, disease resistance, and dense cones, it has become a staple in a number of bold craft beers and is highly sought out for its bittering capabilities as well as its moderate versatility. Ask any brewer in the Northwest and Chinook will be in their top three of favorite hop varieties.
Cluster (~25 plants established 2013—donation from Friends of Buford Park)
An historic American cultivar, Cluster is a result of a mass selection of this variety, thought to have arisen from hybridization of imported varieties from Dutch and English settlers and indigenous male hops. Cluster was the hop of choice in the Willamette Valley as hop production rose to peak levels in the late 1800’s, but started to show its weakness to downy mildew in the early 1900’s and was scarcely grown after 1920.
Teeming with deep yellow-orange lupulin, this hop has a sharp bitterness, but finishes surprisingly crisp and flavorful. Another versatile hop, Cluster can be used for bittering, flavor, and aroma, but really shows its quality during the dry hop process.
Crystal (100 plants established 2009 & 2011)
Released in 1993, Crystal is a triploid aroma cultivar developed at OSU in 1983. One of the Three Sisters (with Mt. Hood and Liberty), this hop is smooth and clean, with an incredible flavor profile due to its high mycrene oil content. It’s low alpha acid levels (4-6%) lend it to aroma and dry hop additions. This is one of our favorite varieties.
Very resistant to downy mildew, Crystal grows thick and hearty shoots, resulting in heavy leaf spread and solid vines, but a modest hop cone production.
Fuggle (100 plants established 2009 & 2011)
Selected in England in 1861 by chance, it has historically been the most popular hop in the U.K. and other parts of western Europe. When Cluster was succumbing to downy mildew here in Oregon around the turn of the century, Fuggle was brought in as a replacement and was a savior to a lot of long-standing hop farms.
Still grown today in Oregon and Washington, this hop has a nice woody, herbal flavor and a very subtle aroma. High amounts of carryophyllene and farnesene oils contribute to the uniqueness of the flavor profile and spicy finish.
Willamette Valley Golding (150 plants established 2009)
Golding is a group of aroma cultivars originating in England prior to 1800. This variety is commonly named for the region they are grown in, such as English, East Kent or Canterbury (Oregon and Washington).
Known as the premier English aroma hop, this variety also lends itself to a nice profile in lagers and light malt beers. A modest-growing, yet striking plant that produces dark green foliage, stout shoots, and soft, papery cones.
Hallertau Mittelfruh (1 plant established 2012 in the Voss Herb Garden)
An aroma cultivar originating from Germany, this hop is one of the four noble hops, known for high humulene and low alpha acid content. Hallertau mf has been an important ingredient in authentic European-style lagers for centuries, mostly used in late additions and dry hopping.
This variety is very susceptible to wilt, which has resulted in extensive research at the Hull Hop Institute in Germany to produce a list of cultivars bred for wilt resistance and other favorable qualities. Rarely grown in the US, we keep one for and from our dear friend, Gilbert Voss.
Mount Hood (150 plants established 2009)
Another triploid aroma cultivar and one of the Three Sisters, Mt. Hood was developed in 1983 at OSU and is derived from Hallertau Mittlefruh. Thick, purple shoots arise in mid-April, producing heavy vines with modest, papery cones.
Great for lagers and kolsch-style beers, this variety has become a mainstay in American craft beer. Bright and very Northwest, Mt. Hood produces a refined spicy aroma with clean bittering qualities.
Nugget (150 plants established 2009)
Bred in 1970 and released in 1982 from Brewers Gold, Early Green, and Canterbury Golding, Nugget is a great bittering hop with a super-heady herbal aroma. Nugget is among the top varieties grown in Oregon, accounting for about 15% of its annual production.
Potent alpha acid content combined with a green, herbal aroma make this hop a common choice for creating Northwest-style IPA’s and imperial beers. Giant, 2-3” cones are sticky and abundant, pouring out of huge sprays of vines and a dense leaf cover that protects the cones from sunburn. This hop is fun to pick.
Sterling (25 plants established 2008)
Released in 1998, this diploid variety developed at OSU is an American Pale Ale/Bohemian Lager hop mix that provides flavor and bittering profiles common in both styles of beer. Similar to Saaz in a lot of ways and sometimes referred to as a noble hop, Sterling has a unique mix of essential oils that lends a spicy, herbal nose with a citrus flavor.
Willamette (50 plants established 2007 & 2008)
Probably the most common aroma hop used in the United States, Willamette hops are a staple in the American craft brew scene. High levels of myrcene, humulene, and farnesene oils create an herbaceous peppery flavor that has both fruit and floral notes.
Willamette is another triploid aroma hop resulting from a seedling of Fuggle; it is actually referred to as an English Fuggle variation. Plants are robust and extremely resistant to downy mildew. This is a great all around hop for brewing American ales and lagers, as well as a great plant for your landscape.
Seasonal Hop Plants Available – at tasting room – Inquire in early march.