Happy New Year! 2009 brings exciting news to the world of BC Craft Brewing. Hops have once again been planted in the Fraser Valley and a small harvest is expected this year.
With the recent hops shortage, brewers have struggled to find a reliable supply of hops and have had to deal with dramatic price increases. If proven successful and commercially viable, it is expected that BC’s dormant hop industry will be revived, providing local brewers a new source for hops. BC was once a major hop producing region, not surprising seeing that Washington State, just south of BC, is currently one of the largest hop growing regions in the world. Sadly, due to declining demand BC’s last hop harvest was in 1997, but 2009 is a year of change. The Chilliwack Museum has a put together a great site about the history of BC’s hop industry that is worth taking a look at.
BC has some amazing brewers creating fantastic beer. Speaking from the perspective of a home brewer, new ingredients helps to inspire brewing creativity – harvest ale, brewed with fresh hops instead of dried hops, is the first beer that comes to mind in this situation. I think this new supply of local hops will bring a new passion to the many craft brewers in BC. I look forward to tasting the news beers that BC brewers create.
Chilliwack’s hop yards provided seasonal work for my grandparents when they first moved to British Columbia, so I feel a small sense of connection to this industry and am very excited to see that hops are once again being grown in BC. For more news on this story check out the BC Beer Blog – a great source for BC beer news.