|September 9, 2007|
Sunday was picking day at Moonlight Brewery in Windsor, California. Having recently returned from Hop School in Yakima, Washington, I was eager to see once more the old-fashioned, slow way of picking hops. Brian Hunt invited me to help him and several friends and neighbors to help with this year’s harvest.
Cascade hops on the vine at Moonlight Brewing’s hopyards.
From the hopyard looking at the circle of pickers.
That’s Brian Hunt in black directing the hop pickers.
People sat in a circle with piles of hops in the center, picking them and dropping the cones into buckets.
Moonlight Brewing’s Brian Hunt holds up a recently cut vine of hops.
Tim Clifford, another volunteer, cuts the bottom of the vines.
Brian Hunt does likewise, along each row. Following behind him another person, in this case Troy Casey cuts the twine at the top of the trellis allowing the vine to drop to the ground.
When cutting the top, it’s a good idea for someone to hold the bottom taut, which makes it much easier to cut.
Troy Casey (center) and friends holding a particularly big vine they just harvested.
More hop cones on the vine, still in the yard.
Even I got into the act, here cutting down vine with the help of Shaun O’Sullivan, from 21st Amendment Brewery.
Brian Hunt showing off another nice-looking, freshly cut vine.
Then it’s back to picking around the circle until all the hops are picked.
Freshly filled buckets of wet hops, containing between 70-80% water. These hops will be used later the same day in the boil that will create Moonlight Brewing’s fresh hop beer.