A Day at the Hopyard – From Farm to Mug
I recently had the opportunity to spend the day touring Akiyama Hopyard in Watsonville, California (just north of Monterey). Established this year, Akiyama Hopyard’s goal is to provide local breweries the opportunity to participate in the harvest season and brew harvest ales.
Hops growing at Akiyama Hopyard in Watsonville, CA.
After 40 years as a carnation nursery, The Akiyama family reopened this past year as Akiyama Hopyard, after extensive hop growing research through UC Davis. The hopyard is run by Sam Akiyama, his father Ben and his grandfather Sam. Even at the age of 85, Sam senior played an integral role in establishing the hopyard, providing guidance as they planted their first 150 plants on the first ¼ acre. Hop varieties include Centennial, Columbus, Chinook, Sterling, and Cascade among others. This year, they produced over 250 pounds of fresh hops. Future plans include developing another ¼ acre and are in the process of having dried hops for breweries and home brewers.
Trimming hops in the Akiyama Hopyard warehouse.
Of those 250 pounds, I selected 63 pounds of fresh, Cascade hops for Peter B’s our upcoming Harvest Ale. As we have been brewing our Harvest Ale, the scent of fruity pebbles has filled the brewery. We utilized our brand new 1 BBL hopback, which functions essentially as a giant French press, infusing the beer a delicate earthy and citrusy flavor, typical of cascade. In addition to the 63 pounds we dry-hopped another 20 pounds of whole leaf cascade in the Serving tank, for additional hop flavor and added complexity.
Justin, and the team from Akiyama sorting hops!
Harvest Ale and hops inside Peter B’s Brewpub.
Come out to Peter B’s Brewpub and try the new Harvest Ale while supplies last.