The BBC Homegrown Series is a fun project that we enjoy every year, and our 2014 brew hits the taps at our brewpub on September 4th.
We have a small hopyard of about 60 hills at Loesch Farm, just west of Bloomington. Head Brewer Emeritus, Floyd Rosenbaum, lives on the farm and lovingly tends the hopyard in his spare time. When he’s not brewing, he’s chasing errant water buffalo out of the woods, or handling the myriad of duties that a farm creates.
Each May the hop vines are trellised on vertical lengths of twine attached to steel cables that stretch between 15’ high poles. During the growing season, the vines can grow up to a foot per day until they reach the top of the trellis. In early August, the hops are ready to pick, and the vines are cut from their trellis and loaded onto a hay wagon where a band of hardy and thirsty pickers spend a couple hours under a trio of shady Scotch pines, meticulously removing the flowers, or cones as they are known, from the prickly vines. It’s always an enjoyable evening with a keg of beer at the ready, and sustenance too. This year, our sweet corn was ready at the perfect time, and the ears went from stalk to pot in about 10 minutes. We ate corn and shared stories until the sun was long gone.
The entirety of our hops went into the boil kettle nearly as quickly as the corn hit the pot, as we brewed this year’s homegrown the following morning. The hops were off the vine for less than 14 hours before they were used, making this year’s homegrown a true example of a “wet hopped” ale.
If you’d like to participate in a future year’s hop picking, just watch our social media feed in late July. We always pick in the first week of August. And we can always use an extra pair of hands.
There is of course, only one batch of Homegrown Ale for the 2014 season and it won’t last long. Stop by Lennie’s brewpub beginning September 4th and enjoy a pint before it’s gone.
We will be having a Homegrown Release Party from 4PM-6PM in the Brewpub on Thursday, September, 4th.