Ah fall, when a young brewer’s heart turns to lupulin; if you are anything like me, you have been eagerly awaiting word of the fall hop harvest being ready. Well, good news: not only are normal hop varieties starting to roll out, but I just got word that the monks at Holy Hops have just released their 2015 crop of Neomexicanus varieties!
First some bad news: not only was this year rough in the Lupulin Triangle (Washington, Oregon, and Idaho), nature was a fickle mistress down in New Mexico as well.
The 2015 growing year was a challenge to say the least… In April, May, and June we experienced abnormal amounts of rain, rain, and more rain that soaked the fields and put less direct sunlight on the maturing bines… July saw returns to normal temperatures, afternoon rain, and otherwise long, bright sunny days which was encouraging. Then August arrived with a vengeance! We experienced a series of heavy hail storms during the first two weeks of August. One storm was so severe that small pea size hail pellets fell so violently that it stripped most of the maturing hop cones off the plants. At the end of the storm, there was about 12 inches of hail on ground mixed with thousands and thousands of hop cones! It was heartbreaking to see the damage to the crop. None the less, we did a very short two day harvest in late September that produced less than a quarter of a normal harvest.
Now the good news: the neomexicanus varieties they harvested were especially potent and there are still plenty available to homebrewers only. Unfortunately there’s no Chama available (my favorite from last years crop), but Amalia, Latir (review), Mintras, and Tierra make a return.
In the mean time, feel free to catch up on my series of posts about Neomexicanus hops. I will make an update if I hear of any other outlets selling Neomexicanus this year. Happy brewing!