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Southwest Michigan is an ideal region to grow hops for many of the same reasons why fruit has been produced here since the 1860s—rich soils and Lake Effect weather. At Hop Head Farms, we have taken great care when deciding where to plant. In fact, 80% of our fields are located within 10 miles or less of the Lake Michigan shoreline.

Quality is born from the soil

Michigan is second only to California in its diversity of agriculture and is fourth largest hop producing state. Hops thrive in Michigan’s fertile soil, ample water, and abundant sunshine. In this historic fruit belt, the glacial soils are predominantly sandy loams where hops thrive. The soil drains well and promotes rapid, deep root development. The soil also contains just the right amount of clay content to make it very fertile and hold moisture for plants to thrive.

The Lake Effect’s wonderful effects

The Great Lakes’ waters can make for unpredictable winters, but they also create wonderful growing conditions. Our growing season is as much as two weeks longer than other regions located to our north. Our proximity to Lake Michigan moderates temperature and tends to decrease the threat of a late frost in the spring that can set plants back. During mid-summer, the cold water keeps the temperatures a bit cooler which help keep the plants out of heat stress. Steady breezes of the lake also help keep plants dry making it more difficult for diseases to develop. The Lake Effect also delays the first frost in the fall, so our plants have more time to build and store reserves for the next season.

Hop varieties

Our hop aromas and flavors are unique to many of the varieties grown on Hop Head Farms. Compared to other growing regions, we are most like the Hallertau in Bavaria because we share a Humid Continental climate classification. Our prominent floral and spice notes for our Zuper Saazer, for example, affirm the link of climate and varietal character and quality.

With this knowledge in hand, we are committed to raising the varieties that thrive in our wonderful Southwest Michigan terroir. While the names may be same, and their characteristics similar and familiar, Michigan hops express the unique terroir of the region

Hops from Michigan allow the brewer to taste the place where they were grown and bring in unique flavors from classic varieties.

Michigan Cascade and Centennial, both true to the profile of other growing regions, but exhibiting juicier citrus top-notes than other growing regions.

Michigan Chinook checks all the boxes of spice, pine, resinous, with bright aromas of juicy pineapple unique to the region.

Michigan Cashmere exhibits wonderful fruity, lemon-lime, melon, and peach aromas with top notes of lemongrass.