April is Craft Beer month in Idaho.
This is the perfect time to drink local beer and also support Idaho hop farmers, barley farmers and Idaho’s craft breweries. The craft beer industry has been booming over the past few years. Idaho has over 50 breweries putting it 10th in the United States in terms of breweries per capita. Idaho breweries like Payette Brewing, Sockeye Brewing and Powderhaus Brewing use Idaho hops and malt barley.
Idaho is #1 in Malt Barley production in the U.S.
Idaho grows 34% of the nation’s total barley crop, of which more than 75% is malt barley. Barley is the soul of beer. Barley malt contributions to brewing include being a source of carbohydrates and protein, as well as providing enzymes to reduce carbohydrates to fermentable sugar and to reduce proteins. Barley is also a source of filter material for “Wort” clarification, and is a source of beer color and flavor. Barley malt provides the best package of all grains for brewing. A consistent supply of malt barley has attracted big companies such as Anheuser-Busch , Great Western Malting, MillerCoors and more to locate in Idaho. Watch this short video Budweiser created thanking malt barley farmers in Idaho.
Idaho is #2 in hop production in the United States.
Idaho raises a large number of hop varieties. A majority of hops are grown in Southwest Idaho around Wilder, but some are grown in the cool, moist air near Bonners Ferry. The history of hops grown in Idaho dates back to the 1930’s.
Hops climb using sticky hairs to attach themselves to the string that is tied to a wire above. These tall finished plants are called bines. The hop bines are full of cones- the female cones are cleaned, dried, cooled and compressed into a hop bail that weighs around 200lbs. From there the bails are sent to a processing plant to be turned into pellets.
Mill95 is the first hop pelletizing plant in Idaho.
Mill95 is located on Hwy 95 in the center of Idaho’s hop growing region. Mill95 has two large cold storage facilities where they can store the hop bails and the finished product- hop pellets. From cold storage the hop pellets are sent to breweries to help flavor and create delicious beer.
This Outdoor Idaho video takes you on a virtual tour through Idaho from field to glass.