Colorado Grows Its Own Hops

Colorado is becoming a craft brewing hotspot, with local brewers crafting Pale Ale using Centennial hops grown right in the state! It's an exciting time for the industry in Colorado, as for the first time ever, homegrown hops are making an appearance in a beer made for the 2014 Craft Brewer's Conference in Denver, transforming the state into an unexpected hub for hop farming.

Colorado is known around the world for its Rocky Mountain beers, which have won top awards and earned rave reviews. In recent years, the craft brewing industry has grown exponentially, with over 300 craft breweries now operating in the state. With all this growth, people are starting to take notice of a new brewing trend: Hop Farms.

Not long ago, a Pale Ale brewed with Colorado-grown Centennial hops would have raised eyebrows. But that’s exactly what the state’s brewers guild made for the 2014 Craft Brewer’s Conference in Denver, and since then, the craft brewing industry has been abuzz with new hop farms popping up all around the state.

A Growing Hop Industry

Colorado hop farms are making an impact, providing high-quality hops to craft brewers all over the state. In the northeast, Kannah Creek Brewing Co. and Hopshell Brewery both boast of award-winning IPAs brewed with Centennial hops grown right here in Colorado. Other breweries, such as Coal Mine Ave Brewing Co., Crooked Stave Artisan Beer Project and Mile High Hops, have tapped into local hop farms to bring hop varieties with unique flavors and aromas to their beers.

Beyond brewers, hop farms are also providing ingredients to distilleries, home brewers and hard cider makers. However, it’s the craft brewers who are the driving force behind the rapid expansion of Colorado’s hop industry.

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The Benefits of Local Hops

When hops are grown locally, brewers and distillers never have to worry about their hops traveling long distances and losing their freshness. Local hops also have a more direct effect on the flavor and aroma of the finished product, allowing brewers the ability to craft unique beer styles. This is why so many brewers in the area are opting to use locally grown hops.

Local hops also have the added benefit of being more sustainable than imported hops, since they require less energy to transport and are grown using fewer chemicals and fertilizers. Not only do hop farms provide a valuable resource for brewers, but they are also a boon to the environment and the local economy.

The Future of Hop Farming in Colorado

As the craft brewing industry continues to grow, the demand for local hops will only increase. While hop farming is a relatively new industry in Colorado, it’s an industry that is likely to grow in the coming years. Several hop farms have already announced plans to expand, while others are in the process of setting up new operations.

With the increasing demand for craft beer, local hops have become an essential ingredient in the brewing process. Colorado’s hop farmers are already capitalizing on this, and it’s only a matter of time before they become an integral part of the state’s brewing landscape.

The Different Types of Hops

Hops come in many different varieties, each with their own distinct flavor and aroma. Some of the most popular varieties of hops grown in Colorado include:

  • Cascade: A popular hop for adding a citrus aroma and flavor to beer styles such as Pale Ale and IPA
  • Centennial: A robust hop with a floral and citrus aroma, used primarily for premium Pale Ales
  • Willamette: A mild and earthy hop with notes of pine and spice
  • Chinook: A spicy and piney hop with a strong bittering quality
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It may have been a surprise to many when a craft beer made with Colorado-grown hops made its debut at the Craft Brewer’s Conference in 2014. But hop farms throughout Colorado have since made a name for themselves, and now they are an integral part of the state’s burgeoning craft brewing industry. Local hops not only provide brewers with a unique flavor, but they are also more sustainable than imported hops. As the craft brewing industry continues to grow, so too will the demand for locally grown hops. Colorado is home to an impressive hop-farming industry, and this is only the beginning.

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