The Willamette Valley’s long been a great place for growing hops, and in fact after WWI decimated European hops yards, this was where the action was, as the Valley became the world leader in hops production. Even today, one out of every three beers is brewed with hops from Oregon, Washington, or Idaho. And you thought Idaho was just for taters. For the craft brewers in the state, of which there are at least 200 now, our location is to die for: the freshest and the best of hops are right here.

After expanding sales across the nation, Rogue Brewery bought a hop yard in Independence, Oregon. The farm now grows hops, rye, barley and other ingredients for a line of Rogue Farms beers.

Now OSU, one of only a few to offer a degree in fermentation science, is upping its game with the establishment of a unique beer archive – the Oregon Hops and Brewing Archives is located on the top floor of the OSU library. It has old photos of operations in hop yards, hops breeding records (assuming you’re into that), and a range of other materials.

Despite the limited space – and the irony of mixing beer and studying – this is a most fitting place to preserve Oregon’s brewing history. Oregon State University has experimented with hops in its research fields since the 1890s. Its Aroma Hops Breeding Program developed some of the nation’s most popular hop cultivars such as Cascade and Willamette, and continues to breed new ones for the craft brew industry.

Back when I did homebrew, I used Cascade pretty extensively. The resultant brew was so good that friends wanted me to sell it to them by the case – which unfortunately is against state law, so….

But hey, you may want to consider a trip to the OSU Archive (as well as their brewhouse) next time you’re in the neighborhood.


About maxredlines

experience: biology, zoology, psychology. authored/co-authored papers appearing in peer-reviewed scientific journals, as well as numerous professional proceedings. authored articles appearing in computer-oriented publications. featured in publications ranging from books to New Yorker magazine to television.
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4 Responses to Hopalong

  1. ZZMIke says:

    “… a degree in fermentation science” At last! ! A degree in something useful.

    Craft brewing seems to be a relatively recent phenomenon here (but I haven’t been paying that much attention). When I was I Germany, every town and village had its own brewery. All were quite good.

    I remember the beer-tasting events – the guy with the silver spoon that you’d sip from (and then spit demurely into a silver jar), the inter-round pates of cheese and wurst, the biermädchens carrying SIX steins to a table (for you and your drinking buddy), …….

    • maxredlines says:

      Oh, but they sell beer in vending machines over there, and nobody blinks if you have a beer with lunch. Here, the bed-wetters’d have a bona-fide heart attack.

  2. Sam L. says:

    Hops breeding–once again sex raises its ugly head…

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