At Mondial de la bière, an annual beer festival known around the world as one of the most prominent in North America (held for the 23rd year in Montreal at the Palais de Congres June 8-12, 2016), a new initiative was introduced to festival-goers this year: the Master Classes.
Launched in partnership with Goose Island Beer Co. and targeted to industry professionals (along with avid homebrewers and connoisseurs), the new feature brought three world-famous brewers to classroom settings to share their insights into different aspects of the brewing business: Yvan De Baets, Brasserie de la Senne; Leonardo Di Vincenzo, Birra Del Borgo; and Brett Porter, Goose Island brewmaster, who led a session on hops sourcing in a time of shortage, an issue which many craft breweries are facing today.
Along with filling in audience members on his history in the beer industry—which spans 28 years between Bunces Brewery in England, Portland and Deschutes breweries in Oregon, and the past six years at Goose Island—Porter stressed the importance of seeking out and cultivating relationships with hops farmers. In his experience, he said, hop growers are the most “open, welcoming and happy people” in the world, and knowing the right people to call will invariably lead to hops-sourcing success. Toward the end of the session, Porter shared a list of his favorite hops to brew with, along with (in most cases) the farms he works with to acquire them.
“Hop farmers are invariably the coolest people that you’ll meet.” —Brett Porter, brewmaster, Goose Island Beer Co.
13 Best Hops to Brew With, According to Goose Island Brewmaster, Brett Porter
Cascade, Goschie Farms, Silverton, Oregon
U.S. Brewers Gold, Sodbuster Farms, Salem, Oregon
Idaho 7, Elysian, Seattle, Washington
7272 (experimental hop), Segal Ranch, Grandview, Washington
Centennial, Segal Ranch, Grandview, Washington
Amarillo, Elk Mountain Farms, Bonners Ferry, Idaho
Cascade, K+K Farms, Suttons Bay, Michigan
U.S. Northern Brewer
Hallertau Mittelfrueh, Hopsteiner*, Yakima, Washington
Equinox (formerly HBC 366), Hopsteiner, Yakima, Washington
Steiner Experimental 10419, Hopsteiner, Yakima, Washington
And for good measure, here’s some hop farm porn from the Goose Island family (actually, it’s a very nice video):
*Hopsteiner operates out of various global locations and is based in New York, N.Y.