Beer enthusiasts know that beer is (generally) made with four main ingredients: water, yeast, malted barley, and hops. Most local beer fans will also know that hops aren't historically a Florida crop. What they may not know, is that in 2015 this changed. Now Central Florida Hops (Orange County's first commercial hop yard) will host a Hopyard Tour on June 24th.
The day will hold two VIP tours, the first is at 1:30PM (sold out) and the second will go down at 3:00PM (secure your ticket here). The tour will highlight a new production method known as photoperiod manipulation and the ten varieties of hops Central Florida Hops produces. The plants are currently flowering and tour-goers will get to see the hop cones. Alongside a tour, visitors will receive h'ordeuvres and samples of local beer. There will also be a presentation and Q&A with Richard Smith, Founder, and CEO of Florida Hops, LLC., a hop consultation company based in Orlando.
Zellwood Based Commercial Hop Yard Hosts VIP Tour
Central Florida Hops is the only commercial grower in Florida to utilize photoperiod manipulation. This new farming method uses lighting to mimic the long hours of daylight that hops are accustomed to growing in. Through this method, Central Florida Hops produces eight times the yield of prior attempts in the Sunshine State. The tour will highlight the new production method and the ten varieties of hops they produce. The plants are currently flowering and tour-goers will get to see the actual hop cones.
Richard Smith is excited that the first harvests of the year are approaching and varieties like Cascade, Chinook, Comet, Cashmere, Nugget, and Zeus have all flourished. "Though there is still much to learn, we were pleasantly surprised at our growth," Smith tells us. Richard Smith is a former biological scientist at the University of Florida where he conducted the first hop production research in 2015. Since then an estimated 20 acres in Florida has now been dedicated to growing hops. Attendees can also try their hand at growing hops at home -- hop plants will be available for purchase.
Tour-goers can expect samples provided by many popular Central Florida breweries including Orange County Brewers, Ten10, Redlight Redlight and more! But if you can't make the Hopyard tour, don't worry -- there are plenty of opportunities to learn about hops while drinking local beer. For example, you can check out Deviant Wolf at 6PM on June 13th for the Hop Talk Series.
Want to learn more about what's hoppin' in the Central Florida craft beer scene this month? Check out our list of June beer events in Orlando.