So it Begins…

I’m a little late with the blog post, but I think the events at CCHP on April 16th warrant some commentary. I spent the morning alongside a number of new hops growers learning how to plant, care for, and harvest this precious plant that plays an important role in the beer brewing process. Golden History Museums and the AC Golden Brewing Company teamed up to host a couple of hops-growing workshops for the benefit of Colorado Native beer. GHM provided the ground and AC Golden took care of the rest.
(Leaning on this shovel was the most work I did all day)
During this workshop I learned a lot about growing hops from the AC Golden experts and I realized that people involved with brewing beer are as entertaining as you’d expect them to be. For those of you who don’t know, the folks over at AC Golden make a number of microbrews including the wonderful Colorado Native, a beer only sold in Colorado and currently made about 99.9% ingredients from Colorado. The lack of local hops is the only thing preventing Native from being a fully Colorado-grown and -brewed beer. So GHM is doing its part to help the brewery meet this goal. The workshop was a great success thanks to Aimee, Steve, Glenn and Steve from AC Golden, Zachary from Llama Tea, and Randy, a longtime hop grower.
Since I haven’t grown anything larger or more complicated than a zucchini, I tried to absorb as much information as I could, so we’ll see if David and I manage to keep those bines under control this year. (A bine is a climbing plant which climbs by its shoots growing in a helix around a support. It is distinct from a vine, which climbs using tendrils or suckers.) If I don’t, we might be in a little trouble at CCHP as these plants have a fairly aggressive growth rate. On a side note, if you ever see me trapped in an overgrowth of hop bines please remember to run away and save yourself. David and I were at the garden plot today and we noticed the first signs of hops, so here we go! This year production will be fairly low, but next year the hop bines could grow up to 18 feet high and weigh about 25 lbs apiece. Eep! Luckily Steve and the AC Golden gang will be building a maypole-style trellis to help us tame the plant growth.
It’s a great Colorado and Golden community project to be associated with, especially considering we’re a town built on beer. And when harvest time comes AC Golden will let us know when they use GHM hops in the Native and I’ll be sure to pass along the info to all our Facebook fans.  
Steve Rockhold discusses hops with AC Golden hops growers.
The planting begins!