Worthy Brewing

In Hop Pursuit:  A 7th Year Progress Report

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In Hop Pursuit:  A 7th Year Progress Report

Wed, 26 Oct 2016 18:55:00

Here’s a fun story.
 
Not sure about the ending.
 
But it’s looking good.
 
Back in 2009, my hometown buddy Jim Solberg and I decided to build a hop company.  Our goal was to bring new flavors to your beer pint glass.
 
We built a pellet mill that specialized in preserving the lupulin glands, the happy place from which the flavor flows. And we partnered with OSU to breed new aroma hops.
 
At the time, Oregon hop acreage was nearing it’s historical lows. Our goal was to help Oregon hop farmers return to those days of glory 70 years ago when our state cultivated 30,000 acres.
 
Fast forward seven years. Thanks to our farm partners, our scientific advisors at OSU, a small army of brewers, and the Willamette Valley’s hop-hearty pollen rich atmosphere, we are pleased to report the rise of a budding prospect: X-331. Our little darling is the offspring of a German Maiden, Perle, and an open-pollinated Rogue Oregon Hop Stud.
 
Worthy introduced X-331 in our recent LookOut Freshop. Our customers noted it’s dank aroma, reminiscent of weed, and it’s tropical fruit forward flavor, with notes of passion fruit and mango. 
 
Back in 2011, when Jim first gave X-331 a rub and a sniff, his eyes closed and he went back to his days of youth roaming through the Corvallis countryside, feasting on blackberries and plucking the low hanging fruit, all the while entranced by the omnipresent aroma of “Indian Tobacco.”  You know, the kind of day you wish would never end. 
 
Our brewers liked it so much we’re working on a new beer, which we’ll call Hop Star, featuring X-331.  We’ll be experimenting with this new “one hop wonder” in the next three pilot batches from our Heart & Soul Series. Stay tuned. We’d love your feedback.
 
Meanwhile, if you’re interested in hop breeding, take a look at this powerpoint here.  You’ll share our pride in noting that since 2010:

  • Total hop acreage in production in Oregon has increased 65.92%.
  • The total hop yield in pounds in Oregon has increased 42.55%.
  • Using traditional breeding techniques, in six years IH-OSU has evaluated over 1,500 new genotypes and advanced over 15 new genotypes into advanced nurseries at two farms in the Valley. The future is bright.

In the end, to build anything new and valuable, it takes a village. Worthy is grateful to Indie Hops, OSU, Goschie Farms, Coleman Farms, and all of the wonderful, smart and eager brewers who over the years have stepped up to help us narrow down the field of over 10,000 seeds a year to the 4 or 5 keepers that might one day, with a little bit of good luck, wind up in your pint glass. 
 
Cheers!

RG Worthy
10/25/16

 

 

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