Hops to regain roots in Cincinnati
Most of us are familiar with Cincinnati’s strong brewing heritage stemming from the heavily German populace in Over-The-Rhine. However, you may not realize that these breweries required great quantities of barley and hops. Online ordering was still 100+ years away so these ingredients had to be grown and sourced locally in many cases. Prior to Prohibition, the area north of present-day I-275 was full of hop farms. West Chester, Mason, Liberty Township, and more were not teeming with Starbucks and Whole Foods Markets. It was hundreds of thousands of acres of brewing crops.
Hop farms were big business and the Cincinnati Chamber of Commerce drafted rules to govern fair business transactions in 1899. Cincinnati even exported hops to Europe to meet their brewing demands! Our farmers were also called to Congress in 1893 to determine how additional taxes on hops were impacting farmers and brewers.
Bring Back the Hops
The soil and climate in the area are definitely hop friendly. However, the country’s main source of commercial hop growing takes place in the Pacific North West. However, Brent Osborn is looking to change that. He has a Kick Starter campaign ending in a few short days that aims to raise $10,000 to start a hop farm in Monroe. His main purpose to provide fresh, local hops for homebrewers but many local commercial brewers have already inquired. It would be pretty awesome to see this area of the country regain even a fraction of the hops once produced here.
Kindly donate if you can, as your support is needed to make this happen!
On a side-note, I am REALLY interested in finding any wild hops growing in the area that may be relics from the past. Hops are notorious for growing like weeds and coming back year after year. Please get in touch with me (mike [AT] brewprof.com) if you know where any might be growing wild in the region!