Most of the hops utilized in American-made craft beers originate from the Pacific Northwest Region. These flowers provide the craft beers with aroma, stability and flavor unique to each brand.
Scientists at the University of Maryland question whether Maryland could be a fertile region for hops, which is why they have partnered with the Flying Dog Brewery in Frederick.
The institute’s Agriculture and Natural Resources department and brewery will conduct a clinical trial that will focus on hops grown in Maryland.
“It’s really giving us a professional, academic approach to determining what the future is for Maryland hop cultivation and if it’s something that can be a sustainable crop,” said chief operating officer Matt Brophy.
The research team will analyze 24 varieties of hops grown in Washington County at the Western Maryland and Education Center. They will access the impact of Maryland’s climate on the hops’ growth, with the possibility of expanding the growth of hops in Maryland in the future.
In recent years, Maryland farmers, including Rohrersville’s Pleasant Valley Hops and Black Locus Hops in Baltimore County, have seen positive results.
Cascade and Chinook respond well to the state’s climate. Brophy hopes the trial will find even more hops, especially those utilized in India Pale ales. These popular ales are largely made in the United States and have intense citrusy flavors and golden copper colors.
Flying Dog Brewery plans to release East Coast Hop Project, a limited-edition pack of beer, in the spring of 2018. The pack will include three beers made from hops grown in the Baltimore region.
The partnership is being described as a “three-to-five year endeavor” with a goal to provide growers with some resources to make it possible for them to expand their operations and connect them to brewers.