Ever hear of Pontiac, Illinois? It’s home to Route 66 Hall of Fame, surrounded by spacious corn fields and full of the kindest people. It’s as American as any town can get. It also happens to be home to hop farmers, Steve and Karen Scott of Vermillion Valley Farm. It’s a centennial farm, meaning it’s been in their family for over 100 years. They live and work on a 9 acre farm where they also grow organic produce that you can find at the local farmers’ market every weekend. The Scott family are responsible for the cascade hops that are used to brew Two Brothers annual fall release, Heavier Handed. This is the second year that Two Brothers will use Vermillion Valley hops.
The Two Brothers team and Scott family kindly invited us for the day to help harvest their hops. We couldn’t believe the amount of hops we needed to pick in order to make 90 gallons of the delicious brew. To put it into a better perspective, think about it this way.
Four hours of labor + brewing time + 200 lbs of hops
= 90 gallons of Heavier Handed,
or 954 12 oz beers.
We wasted no time. The team of about forty, including Two Brothers Brewing owners Jim and Jason Ebel, got to work. It took about four hours (with a delicious lunch break provided by the brewery chef) for us to harvest about 200 pounds of cascade hops.