Blue Mountain Brewery cultivates the aromatic plant that gives all beer its characteristic flavor.
Virginia was once known as the “Hop Capital of the New World”, and we began reviving that tradition in Central Virginia in 2006 by growing this blessed plant on our brewery grounds to use in our many ales and lagers.
Over 400 rhizomes (a living segment of the root of a female hop vine) of the Pacific Northwest “Cascade” variety and 100 rhizomes of Pacific Northwest “Centennial” hops are currently growing in our two fields.
The Cascade is an aroma-type cultivar original to the United States. It was first bred in 1952 but not released for cultivation until almost 20 years later. It is a cross of the English Fuggle and Russian Serebrianka producing a medium sized, compact, easily harvested, and wonderfully aromatic cone. Centennial hops were named to celebrate the centennial celebration of Oregon as a state, and have a beautiful piney aroma and delicious taste unique among American hops.
Our hop fields are now overseen by Stan Driver of Hoot ‘n’ Holler hops, of Nellysford (Nelson County), Virginia. Stan and Blue Mountain have formed Virginia’s first hop co-operative with area nursery and farm owners in order to promote the growth of hops as a crop in the Commonwealth.
Each year we use the first 150 pounds of freshly picked hops in one 30 barrel (~1,000 gallon) batch of “wet hopped/fresh hopped” harvest celebration beer. The remainder of the hops are dried, vacuum sealed, refrigerated and used throughout the year in each and every batch of our flagship strong pale ale, Full Nelson.
Our hops begin sprouting from their over-wintering rhizomes each year in March and are up the poles by May. They are in full swing from June until early August, when we harvest. Come visit our brewery, restaurant and hop fields for a unique beer experience!