A locally grown crop is about to become part of a local beer. Farmers and brewers are working together to bring some of the beer making process to Wisconsin.
Hops are used to make beer bitter. Five Wisconsin breweries plan to quickly take advantage of wet hops, fresh of the vine.
"You only have 24 hours to use the wet hop. Otherwise it degradates and you can't use it," Bull Falls Brewery co-owner Michael Zamzow said.
Many breweries in our state get their hops from outside Wisconsin. But a recent partnership between area farmers and brewers has focused on getting more of that crop from inside the Badger state.
"To help keep Wisconsin farms and breweries, all that money in the state to help the local economy," Central Waters Brewing Company president Paul Graham said.
This year's collection of crops took place at a farm in Amherst. Some of the brewers say the taste of a wet hop brew is unlike any other.
"Provides a certain kind of freshness that you can taste, great flavor when you use wet hops," Zamzow said.
But like most crops in Wisconsin, hops has suffered from the drought.
"Up north, the guys did a little better. Down here I lacked 25 percent," farmer Ryan Trezebiatowski said.
That resulted in a smaller harvest of hops than what they wanted. But they still were able to grab 400 pounds to put into beer.
"To have that connection to it is really pretty special," farmer Jonathan Wokatsch said.
Farmers and brewers say they hope to get more hops from across the state in the future—to make Wisconsin beer just a little more hometown.
Trig's will carry all five varieties of the beer. The brewers say it should be on shelves there in about six weeks.
More snow, freezing rain, sleet, and wind on the way.
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