The “Aroma Smart” System

Gorst Valley Hops’ small size enables it to dry its hops to the necessary standard. The company has even developed a drying method, which they call the “aroma smart” system. In this process, 2 big machines use dehumidifiers and outside air to dry the hops before shipping them to be processed into pellets. Hops manufacturers in other parts of the world dry their hops using high heat, usually, 150-160 degrees. However, this is disadvantageous since it takes away all the aroma components which are essential in giving a beer flavor. Gorst Valley Hops’ method does not use heat and all the aromas are maintained. The only disadvantage of using this method is that it consumes 3 times as much time as the method used by other hops producers. Gorst Valley Hops’ hop-drying method can be likened to making a good barbecue, in that, low and slow makes a better barbecue than rushing it.

At first, skeptics questioned whether this method was practical. However, studies have revealed that Gorst Valley Hops’ hops-drying method is more effective in preserving the hops’ flavor essence.

After many years of experimentation, Gorst Valley Hops launched 2 pioneering hops varieties to the market: Top Secret and Skyrocket. Gorst Valley Hops’ Top Secret was developed using hops originally found in Wisconsin. The variety is not an IPA. It is used to make farmhouse ales, pilsners, and blondes. Although IPA was trending at the time Gorst Valley Hops developed Top Secret, the company anticipated the local brewing trends would change and therefore created a futuristic beer ingredient, so to speak.

Skyrocket on the other hand was developed to take advantage of the current IPA trend. As you would expect, this variety became very successful during the initial years of its launch. Beer manufacturers are always looking for something new to make their drinks unique. Skyrocket is native to Wisconsin and offered a unique flavor than that available in the market at the time.

Altwies hopes that Wisconsin will return to its former hop-growing glory. In addition, Altwies is seeking to recruit more small-scale farmers into the program since he believes that Wisconsin is the ideal area to cultivate traditional, European varieties of hops. Gorst Valley Hops holds workshops such as Hops Production 102 and 101 to teach farmers how to successfully grow a specialized hop variety. In doing so, Altwies hopes that Gorst Valley Hops will dominate the craft beer scene in Wisconsin. Altweis recognizes that although growing hops is not necessarily challenging, it is quite labor-intensive and requires a lot of commitment. This is where Gorst Valley Hops comes in. The company will help you through your hop-growing journey with as little as one acre. If you are seeking someone to hold your hand through your hop-growing journey in Wisconsin, Gorst Valley Hops is your best bet.…

Combined Farmers and Technology

Hop growing is a very labor-intensive endeavor and its success requires a lot of commitment since farmers pick hops using their hands. However, Gorst Valley Hops has been working on developing a device for harvesting hop on small farms.

One acre of land generally yields about seven to fifteen pounds of hop during its initial years. However, with time this number grows significantly. It is estimated that during the fourth year the yield rises to 1500-2000 pounds. The owners of Gorst Valley Hops offer all the farming and technical support in the process of hop growing, including pest management, design work for the trellis system, and irrigation system. After harvesting the hops, Gorst Valley Hops mills them into powder, turns them into pellets, and supplies local breweries. Gorst Valley Hops hopes to add ten to fifteen acres of hop annually, which is the current capacity of the processing facility. More is to come if the financial arrangement with United Revenue comes to completion.

The amount farmers pay upfront is directly invested into the farmer’s land by purchasing hop rhizomes. The charter growing program has no upfront fee, and Gorst Valley Hops only generates revenue after the sale of the farmer’s hops. Although one acre of hops is not very profitable during the initial year, within 2 years, an acre could generate anywhere from twelve thousand to fifteen thousand dollars in revenue which is a significant amount compared to the $250 you would generate from growing corn.

Within the initial 2 years of Gorst Valley Hops launch, the company was already profitable. Instead of taking their proceeds as a salary, the farmers were reinvesting it into the company. This played a big role in the growth of the company. One of Gorst Valley Hops’ objectives was to make the initiative a model for other cash-crops. The goal was to expand to grow herbs for essential oils or botanicals for herbal tea. Altwies also plans to build a community processing facility where farmers can process their perishable vegetables and fruits into a product like making tomato sauce from tomato and selling it. The objective is to make Gorst Valley Hops socially, economically, and environmentally sustainable. Everything that Gorst Valley Hops does revolves around these three areas.

The main reason for Gorst Valley Hops’ success is their perpetual tinkering to make unique hops that brewers want to make to produce craft beers. Today, brewers are seeking smashmouth hops, hops that have a significant flavor effect and are easy to use. Unlike wine, beer does not possess subtle hints of chocolate, oak, or whatever. Beer sort of kicks you in the face. If your objective is to get a grape flavor, or skunky dank, catty, or tropical fruit, there’s a hop that is better than others at getting the job done. Therefore creating optimal aroma compounds is key. Gorst Valley Hops can afford to specialize in that because they are small — something that big processors are unable to.…

Where Can You Get Locally Produced Hops?

A group of hop connoisseurs is reaching out to landowners in Wisconsin, giving them the opportunity to be part of the state’s hop-growing legacy. All that’s required to join the hop crop movement — the ingredient that provides the flowery aroma of beer and its characteristic bitter taste — is at least 1 acre of productive agricultural land anywhere in the upper Midwest or Wisconsin and around ten thousand dollars.

Launched in 2008, Gorst Valley Hops is committed to producing hops of ultra-high-quality for Midwestern farmers as a specialty cash crop. Gorst Valley Hops offers sales services, processing, outreach, and education to brewers and farmers. Gorst Valley Hops’ mission is to offer farmers a unique and valuable crop that can be cultivated on a small farm within a farmer-oriented system. Such a system allows farmers to get the majority of the returns from the crop. Gorst Valley Hops has 1 charter grower in Escanaba, Michigan, and 7 around Wisconsin, producing a total of fifteen acres of hops.

Local Acre, by Lakefront Brewery, contains 100% Wisconsin ingredients and is produced using hops from Gorst Valley Hops. Capital Brewery of Middleton is another beer producer that relies on Gorst Valley Hops for this essential beer ingredient. During the company’s early years, owner Altwies knew that Gorst Valley Hops was never going to provide 1 brewer with all the necessary hops. With this in mind, he focused on producing sufficient hops to allow brewers to make specialty beers.

Companies such as Gorst Valley Hops, which are coming up with innovative uses of land, also help maintain Berry as a rural farm — one of the town’s land-use plans. Gorst Valley Hops offers a different approach to farmland use. It’s a demonstration of how small tracts of land can be utilized for agriculture.

During the nineteenth century, Wisconsin grew about 20% of all the hops in the United States until aphid and mildew challenges caused by overcrowded plantations forced farmers to relocate their agricultural practices to the Pacific Northwest. Today, Wisconsin has better production practices, as well as new varieties of hop that are much higher yielding and pest and disease resistant. The growing conditions are ideal for cultivating hops, including 120 days of frost-free growing, sufficient sunlight, and winter which provides the hops the dormancy they need for flowering and producing optimal yields.

Altwies, a horticulturist and graduate of the University of Wisconsin, Madison was always confident about growing hops in Wisconsin. After all, the practice had been hugely successful in the 1860s. To establish Gorst Valley Hops, Altwies brought together a group of like-minded friends to partner in his new hop-growing venture — each with a specialty that would tackle specific elements when re-introducing the crop as a commercial crop in the state. The team included a development director, engineer, and a chemist. Everyone brought something unique to the table and this has been instrumental to the growth of the company. Christine and Thad Molling, for instance, provide the Gorst Valley cooperative agricultural research and information technology expertise. The couple, who reside near Mazomanie, both wanted to establish a sustainable career outside their normal jobs. However, they did not want to be ordinary farmers and Gorst Valley Hops offered a wonderful prospect. Christine and Thad Molling eventually grew their initial hop crop and assisted Altwies launch workshops for prospective hop farmers.…