Cherry Crops and Tasty Hops

CherriesAs many of you know, Northern Michigan is known for growing some of the world’s most delectable cherries.  As the National Cherry Festival comes in to full swing this week in Traverse City, it’s obvious why our state is obsessed with these red orbs of goodness!

By all accounts, cherries have been grown in Michigan since the settlement of the state, with the first commercial production of the crop beginning in the mid-19th century.  The unique geography of Northwestern Michigan, including our sandy soil and proximity to Lake Michigan (AKA everything we love and cherish about Northern Michigan), provide the perfect microclimate for cherry production.

But did you know that the same climate conditions that lend themselves to the growing of cherries also aid in the growing of the beer ingredient that makes us the “hoppiest”? Yes, Northwestern Michigan cherry orchards are now neighbors to some of our state’s first hop farms!

IMG_2153Hops, the flowering cone of the Humulus lupulus plant, are central ingredients to the brewing of beer.  Hops of differing varieties are chosen for the characteristics they add to beer including aroma, flavor, bitterness, and preservation.  Humulus lupulus grows as a climbing bine that, fortunately for us, thrives under the same conditions as Northern Michigan cherries.  In fact, hops farms are popping up across the mitten! The telltale leaf-covered trellises, poles and wires can be seen as far south as Hickory Corners, MI.  Two of our neighbors in the hops business are New Mission Organics, of Omena, MI and Empire Hops Farm, of Empire, MI.

We at Short’s pride ourselves on our motto, “Michigan Only, Michigan Forever,” and we are so thrilled to be able to source the hops for some of our most beloved brews locally.  You too can enjoy Michigan hops the next time you pick up a pint of Bonafide Legit, Kind Ale, The Empire Hops Back, or Devils Lettuce.

So come up north! Enjoy a slice of Michigan cherry pie or a pail of fresh, juicy Michigan cherries and wash it down with a pint of beer brewed with Michigan hops.