Northwest College Associate Professor of Agroecology and Range Management Micah Humphreys will present a “Growing Hops Seminar” Wednesday, April 5, in Powell.
His presentation begins at 1:30 p.m. in the Yellowstone Building Conference Center on NWC’s main campus. The half-day event led by Humphreys will cover various topics for those in the Bighorn Basin interested in hops production and brewing.
Hops, the flowers or seed cones of the hop plant Humulus Lupulus, are a common flavoring and stability ingredient used in brewing. The perennial climbing plant’s seed cones provide the citric, zesty and bitter flavors in commercial and home-brewed beers.
Humphreys will address topics on how to acquire hop plants, planting techniques, trellis systems and variety selection. He will also describe the harvest, processing and storage procedures used in NWC’s hops variety trials.
“Powell is at approximately the same latitude as the major hop-producing regions in the United States,” Humphreys said. “Our access to consistent water is another reason why we are well situated. With the rise in craft breweries in the area, there’s also a rise in interest in locally produced hops.”
In August 2015, Humphreys and several NWC agriculture students broke ground for a hops trial plot on college-owned property. Located one mile north of NWC’s main campus near the Paul Stock Agriculture Pavilion, the plot spans approximately one-quarter acre with about 200 hop plants of 10 different varieties.
A second plot on private property 10 miles west of Powell was constructed in June 2016 and includes 10 varieties of an additional 120 plants.
“The students learn about hops in our agroecology and capstone courses and have field activities related to the variety trial as well,” Humphreys said. “We hope that NWC being involved in hops production will give students another new experience that they may have never had before.”
In February, NWC delivered several sealed foil bags of Centennial, Cascade, Chinook and Columbus variety hops to WYOld West Brewery in Powell. The brewery plans to use those hops in a new India pale ale (IPA) beer this spring.
Funding for the hops trials was administered through the Wyoming Department of Agriculture after approval of the NWC Agriculture Department’s proposal in 2014.
The project is supported by the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program at the USDA through grant 14-SCBGP-WY-0056 Hops Production Exploration in the Bighorn Basin.
The grant finances the two variety trials in the region as well as meetings associated with potential growers and brewers.
The seminar is free and open to the public, but registration is required to ensure proper accommodations. For more information or to register for the event, visit www.nwchops.org, or contact Humphreys at 307-754-6465 or Micah.Humphreys@nwc.edu