Once hop plants reach the top of the their strings at 18 feet tall they start the process of flowering, ultimately producing the cones that make beer. These tiny flowers start out as small spikes and quickly begin to resemble the finished product.
The flower shown here is a female flower-- and so are all of the others in our field! Cultivated hops are all female plants; they do not need males to be pollinated. In fact, pollination will result in the production of seeds within the cones which will result in extra weight and decreased oil content. Wild plants (yes, there are native wild hops) will produce male flowers and are occasionally seen.
Each hop variety will have a different final size and these range from 1 inch to over 3 inches in length. Here you can see the difference a couple of weeks makes in turning those small spikey flowers into what we can see as hops. These will continue to develop and elongate over the next month or so until harvest.
Growing hops is hard work, but this is the time of year when we love to share the beauty of these fields with you! We were honored to host BlackRock Brewers from Tucson, Arizona last week and show them what's going on in the fields right now.
If your brewery team or group would be interested in learning more about the process of growing hops we would be delighted to host you. August is an especially great time to visit and we promise to have hops ready for you to smell and appreciate!
Cedar Falls Hops Co. grows Iowa hops. Follow us on here to keep up with the newest progress in our fields.