Hop cultivation on the North Shore: the challenge met for a second year

Hops growing on the North Shore: the challenge met for a second year

DAY

The vegetable and hop farm Les jardins de Carmanor has succeeded for a second year in the challenge of growing hops on the North Shore, a harvest that will once again allow the production of a very special beer . 

Set up in the locality of Ragueneau, near Baie-Comeau, in 2019, the company is the first to produce hops on the North Shore where the climate often makes crops more difficult than in southern Quebec.

“We have a shorter season than the other hop fields and less heat, explained to us during our visit Steve Berthiaume, co-owner of the Jardins de Carmanor, with his father Pierre Berthiaume. Our plants are strong and healthy, but they could have more buds.”

The hop field is reaching maturity, but is still in the experimental stage.

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“We have to adjust,” added Mr. Berthiaume. The agronomist following us advised us to reduce the height of the posts that hold the wires, so that the hops put their energy into becoming denser and producing more buds instead of always trying to climb upwards. We'll see what happens next year!”

The 2022 harvest took place last Sunday, September 11.

Thirty volunteers offered their services to help unhook the long vines twisted around the wires suspended 20 feet away in the air, in the vast field facing the sea.

Then we had to take down the resinous cocottes where the essential oils are concentrated which will give aroma and bitterness to the beer.

The entire harvest was sent to the Microbrasserie St-Pancrace in Baie-Comeau.

“As of Monday morning, the 250 pounds of hops were in the vats to make a harvest beer, which can only be made with fresh hops. Normally, hops are dried and made into pellets. It's the only time of the year when you can make this type of beer, when you have a fresh harvest,” mentioned one of the co-owners of the microbrewery André Morin in an interview.

“In 15 at 20 days, it will give a pale ale type beer, vegetal and very floral,” added Mr. Morin.

The 2,000-litre cuvée will be canned and distributed to retailers on the Côte -North. “Her name is La Carmanor. This is a way of highlighting the exceptional work that this producer is doing to get hops on the North Shore,” said the brewer.

In Quebec, according to the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, there were 41 farms last year that reported producing hops.