Belly Up to the Farm in Central VA

by Staff on August 23, 2014

Central VA Craft BreweriesWe write often about the innovative farmers and their products in Central VA.   Farmers seem to be producing almost everything from solar power to chicken lips these days!   We have lots of quality wineries and vineyards in our Charlottesville area,  and now several busy farms are raising hops for their own craft breweries.

As small ‘craft’ breweries (sometimes called micro-breweries) have become popular in recent years, farmers have made a natural segue to scratch the itch for innovative beers and drinks.  There is so much demand for their beverages that this month has actually been dubbed Virginia Craft Beer Month.     Yes, I know.   You all know somebody who wants to pronounce all 12 months to be Craft Beer Month, but that’s another topic.

The number of craft breweries in VA has doubled from 40 to 80 in the past few years.   It’s not a new idea however.  Hops were grown on many VA farms in Thomas Jefferson’s colonial time, so this is actually a resurgence of a previous crop.  Hops grow well in Virginia and farmers now have the ability to experiment with the quality and variety of the hops they grow.  This innovation, combined with the advantage of local crops for local businesses, has created an exciting atmosphere for lovers of craft brewing.

And though the public benefits from the expertise of local growers and brewers…. there’s an additional benefit for the farmers too.    The farmers get the exposure and advertising from welcoming the public to visit their farms, and of course it’s lots of fun for the public to visit the same farm where the hops are grown and/or brewed to get a firsthand look at the process of producing their favorite beverages.   There are even harvesting parties and other events to enjoy as well, so check out THIS LINK for more information. Hops

If you get all inspired to grow your own hops you can get advice here….. just be sure to allow plenty of room for these tall climbing vines.  And here’s another link that confirms Virginia’s ideal hops-growing climate.

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