Hops in Virginia
Virginia's Hop History
Humulus Lupulus is indigenous to the state of Virginia and was discovered by early settlers in Eastern Virginia. English hops were continued to be imported for beer brewed in the colonies until farmers found that cultivating hops in Virginia was a profitable enterprise.
Hops enjoyed the sandy soil and temperate summers of the Virginia piedmont and tidewater and farmers saw success with the growth of the plant due to the increasing thirst for beer in the colonies.
Hop cultivation continued in Virginia for many decades until other cash crops such as tobacco and cotton came to prominence and hops fell by the wayside. Hop production then moved into the western territories where it has grown exponentially in today's hop agriculture centers of the Pacific Northwest.
The Piedmont Terroir
The concept of terroir has been emphasized by winemakers in Virginia for decades. Terroir is of utmost importance when considering how the differences in soil geology, topography, land aspect and winds affect the characteristics of a plant. For instance, soil that holds water too well can cause grapes to receive too much water over time and thus dilute the characteristics they were bred for.
In the same way, we believe that hops grown in Central Virginia will have certain characteristics that differentiate them from other regions and climates. These characteristics can, in turn, impart totally different aromas and flavors to the end product and thus a completely different experience for the consumer.
On our farm, we discovered hops growing wild, no doubt remnants of the Colonial period. We have named this variety Greenmont Mother, cut and grown the rhizomes in our hopyard, and cultivated it for local brews. The original, or "mother," is unique to Greenmont Farm. Greenmont Mother is mildew and pest resistant and delightful for a fresh ale.