Growth and Production of Hops (Humulus lupulus) Varieties in the Helena Valley (MT)
Humulus lupulus, or hop, is a herbaceous perennial vine from the Cannabaceae family and grows perennially for ten to twenty years. They are most commonly grown in the Yakima Valley in Washington. Hops are used for a variety of reasons, but in beer production they are most well known for being used in the brewing process in which they add bitterness, aromas, and flavor to the beer. As of April 2016, there are fifty-nine members of the Montana Brewery Association and over sixty craft brewers with breweries all across the state. The goal of this experiment was to evaluate the growth yield, potential, and survival of different varieties in Montana as it has a similar climate as the Yakima Valley. Breweries and farmers across the state could then be informed of the data collected so they could contribute to local supply for sustainably minded breweries or develop a cash crop for local markets. This research project evaluated four common varieties of hops over the course of one growing season and their average heights and average dry biomasses.