After a mild and dry Autumn where hop shoots started to grow back a little, they will be in for a shock when the whether turns a little chillier over the next few weeks. To help the plants get through the colder months, the garden needs to be dressed for winter and it has been all hands on deck to get this done by the first week of December.
We started by clearing away some of the dry bines that didn't make it to harvest this year (we had more than enough hops from our bumper harvest!). This has given us a little kindling to put on the bonfire to keep us warm.
Once that was done, we moved onto the actual hop dressing which involves trimming back all the growth above ground from each plant so it can be tucked away underground to keep warm and avoid the frosts.
The fantastic volunteers from the Hogs Back Hoppers (having now recovered from the September harvest!) have been leading the charge and getting their hands dirty over morning or afternoon dressing sessions.
Our new TEA Academy apprentices Ben and Callum, alongside new starter Rob, have also been getting stuck in as part of their training. We want to make sure they are getting a rounded experience of what it is like to work at the Hogs Back Brewery including learning more about brewing and agriculture.
The plants will then lie dormant until the spring when the first brave shoots will start to appear in the early March warmth.
The Hoppers have dressed in all the Farnham White Bine and English Cascade hops and will be working on all the Fuggles hops over the next 2 weeks.
As a thanks for all their sterling effort throughout harvest, all Hoppers are being rewarded with a Limited Edition Harvest 2021 Tankard - perfect for enjoying a Hogs Back pint or two in!
If you would like to enjoy some fresh air and meet some other like-minded people, why not sign up to join our Hogs Back Hoppers? For more details about the club and volunteering, please drop an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.