Wednesday, September 1, 2010

A Last Look at the Oshkosh Hops of 2010

Did you see the big, orange moon last week? It was a sure sign that another summer is coming to its end. And with it goes the hop growing season in Oshkosh. So before those lush cones are pulled down, dried out and boiled into wort, let's see what the season has provided. 2010 was a good year for the hops.

Nick’s Hop Operation
We'll start with the most fruitful hop farm within the city limits of Oshkosh. Not far from the corner of Jackson and Murdock, Nick’s Hop Operation is in its third year and in full bloom. He’s growing Zeus, Brewers Gold, Willamette, Cascade and Hallertau and most of his plants are loaded with fat, sticky cones that are bursting with aroma. When I walked up to take these pictures on Monday, I could smell hop resin from the sidewalk framing his yard. The growth of Nick’s set-up is amazing. To see how it’s progressed over the season go HERE & HERE.

Scott’s Hops
An utterly unique hop growing arrangement has developed on Adams Avenue. These are Scott’s hops and he's set them up in an unusual way. Instead of training his Cascades up a trellis or pole, he’s using an evergreen bush to support his plants. The hops and the evergreen have proven to be surprisingly compatible and at first glance the intertwined growth looks like a demented arborvitae sprouting hop cones. Stranger yet, Scott’s hops have meandered into a nearby prickly pear cactus and are putting out cones there, as well. Maybe we’ve got a new strain of hop here. The Oshkosh Prickly Pear Hop is born!

The Oshkosh Tall Boy

This must be the tallest hop plant in Oshkosh. It’s well over 25 feet tall and grows on a terrace near the western end of New York Ave. The plant’s incredible height is all the more baffling when you consider the small patch of dirt it occupies. This one is a late bloomer, but the cones have recently begun to develop and it should produce plenty of excellent fruit. If you haven’t seen this plant, take a drive down New York and check it out sometime. It’s a startling thing to encounter. THIS is what it looked like a couple months ago.

My Hops.
Finally, here are the hops I’m growing on Evans Street. They had a rough year. Twice they were flooded and the storm of July 14th ripped them down from their trellis. And though they had to learn to grow in a new direction (horizontally), they pulled through and are even thriving. These are a mix of Nugget and Cascade and I’m going to wait another week or so before I harvest them. I’m hoping to end up with about two pounds of hops after they’re dried, which ought to be enough to brew approximately 50 gallons of beer. THIS is what they looked like in mid-June.

Thanks to the Oshkosh hop growers for their help over the course of the summer. May your beer be bitter!


  1. Awesome job on photographing the hops. I really enjoy seeing the photos of what the hops looked like early in the season. Thanks for linking them. mmm, beer.

  2. Thanks! And just think, they'll soon be gone. I'll hate to see 'em go.

  3. Hops are a beautiful vineing plant with a definite bonus factor.

  4. I am on ceape ave, got a whole load of Cascade ready if anyone wants? i am not making my own beer.....