First Hop Selection Held in Maryland
Our Brewmaster Matt Brophy held Maryland's first hop selection Monday, evaluating six different varieties from eight local growers.
Our goal was to closely replicate the process of how we select hops from large-scale production growers in the Pacific Northwest. Not only did that ensure the highest quality hops for our Secret Stash Harvest Ale -- an annual release brewed with local ingredients -- it also enabled us to provide in-depth feedback to our local growers.
Hop selection involves cutting into dried, compressed hops and rubbing the individual cones in between your hands. That allows the full aromatics of the hops to come through, which provides a good indication of the aromas and flavors they will impart on a beer. All of the hops submitted were anonymously labeled.
What we were looking for was a combination of aromatics and the appropriate moisture level from the drying process.
We chose to purchase Cascade hops from Black Locust Hops and Cascade, Chinook, Centennial, and Magnum hops from Organarchy Hops for Secret Stash. We also have estate-grown Cascade hops harvested last week from our brewery hop bines. (Check out our video of the harvest here.)
Secret Stash was brewed today and will be available on draft and in 6-packs by the end of September.