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Saranac Hop Harvest in Upstate NY

This past summer we finally had a chance to attend the Saranac Brewery Hop Harvest held in Upstate New York. It was a great experience to be able to assist with the harvesting of the hops that Saranac uses to make some of their craft beers. Our reward for volunteering was some great food and some awesome beer.
055hops-2016-12We weren’t the only ones working or having a good time. Whether you are working or drinking out doors in the sun it’s good to have a brim on your hat to keep the sun out of your eyes.
031hops-2016-11The beer tent was set up along the edge of the cornfield. Wrobel Farms is well known in the area for their delicious sweet corn, but you have to know enough to tell the difference between that and the field corn which grows right along side of it, or you might be disappointed.

019hops-2016-5No disappointment here though. I am an IPA fan and Saranac Legacy IPA is one of my favorites,  I’ll admit I got in line more than once.

030hops-2016-10Here is our host Jim and his friend Joe. Joe is there to help most days, not just for harvest. Gardening and cooking are a couple of his passions and if you get a chance to try his homemade artisan breads, don’t pass it up.

028hops-2016-9A nice close up of Wrobel Farms heirloom hops. Take a few in your hand and crush them so you can smell the delightful scent. New York State farmers have been growing hops to make beer since the 1800s. We had hops growing in our yard in when I was child and my mom used to make pillows to use as a sachet; sewing dried hops inside.
015hops-2016-4And did I mention that hops and their bines make great decorations for hats? (Yes, they are bines, not vines!)

013hops-2016-3Welcome to the farm!

027hops-2016-8The large poles are spaced 50 feet apart then strung with wire .  Then coconut hull twine is hung down from the horizontal wire for the bine to crawl up .

024hops-2016-7This is the whole group of Hop Harvest attendees. If you look closely you can see our hosts, Jim and Susan along with the Saranac crew including a couple of representatives of the Matt family themselves!  To attend you need to register ahead of time through Saranac’s website, agree to participate in the harvest and of course be over 21.

003hops-2016-1After experiencing how hops were picked a hundred years ago, it’s great to sit down and have a beer on a hot day. I loved this woman’s protective apron. Perfect color for harvest.

021hops-2016-6All those hops have been had stripped from the bines by the volunteers and are on their way to the brewery to be made into “Hoptoberfest” (an Octoberfest German style beer) and a fresh hop IPA
011hops-2016-2I think Jim needs to update his farm Tshirt to one that includes a few hops. Seriously though, thanks for having us. We had a great time and hope to make it again for the 2017 Harvest!

Tim and Dana

PS Can’t get enough of hops, craft brew and breweries? Check out some of other posts. Good times!


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