Once thought impossible to grow in our climate, now local craft breweries offer beer flavored with hops grown in Hillsborough County

Harvest: Hops 

Learn all about hops grown in Hillsborough County.

When are fresh Hillsborough County hops available locally?

Researchers harvest two crops of the thimble-sized cones each year in Florida: in mid/late June and mid-November. Several local craft breweries have produced beer flavored with hops grown in the Balm field.

What varieties of hops are grown here?

Cascade shows the most promise so far. Researchers also have conducted trials with other varieties such as Comet, Nugget, and Zeus.

Where are hops grown in Hillsborough County?

This key flavoring ingredient in beer is grown as an experimental crop at the University of Florida's Gulf Coast Research and Education Center in Balm.

How many acres are planted with hops?

About 2½ acres at the research field.

How many pounds of hops are harvested?

About 1,000 pounds per acre of dried whole cone hops.

Fun fact

Hops production in Florida once was considered impossible due to the hot, humid climate and comparatively short daylight hours. Researchers have shown it's possible to grow hops here with supplemental lighting. The Cascade variety particularly has shown unique quality and flavor characteristics.

Local insight

In limited trials, brewers and their customers give a thumbs-up to beers made with locally-grown hops. Cascade hops harvested here have somewhat of a cantaloupe and honeydew melon flavor, which is unusual and desirable. A remaining challenge is to determine if growing hops is economically feasible for Florida farmers.

Image Caption: Hops plants reach skyward at the Gulf Coast Research and Education Center in Balm.
Last Modified: 1/11/2024, 12:32:56 PM

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