The sun feels hot on my back as the sticky bines cling to my fingers. It’s calm and meditative work, picking hops by hand, no doubt very much the way it was done years ago, when these heirloom varieties were first harvested. Fresh resinous smells waft up towards my face, as I watch the hop cones drop into the basket in front of me, one by one. I look around at smiling faces, long tables lined with volunteers, all happy to be a part of the harvest.
We pick Cascade and Heirloom varieties. You can hear the pride in his voice as Jim Wrobel recounts the long history his family has with this land. Hop strains that have grown at this site since the 1860’s. I feel lucky to be here, less than 20 miles from the Brewery, these hops won’t have to travel far before they become part of Saranac’s Wet Hop IPA.
On the horizon, the sun rests heavy on rolling hills as we gather in front of the century old hop kiln, standing tall and wide like a shepherd over his flock. We smile and raise our glasses to the bounty of this years harvest and the beer that it will make.