Hop Fests of Madison County

Not sure how it slipped by our collective attention, but we somehow missed that the 12th Annual Madison County Historical Society Hop Fest was held this past weekend in Oneida. Upstate New York was once the leading hop growing region in the country, accounting for nearly 90% of the nation’s total hop production prior to the Civil War. Seriously, 90%! Check out this article for plenty more information. It’s from 1996, and focuses mainly on Otsego County – still home to a couple of pretty solid breweries in Cooperstown Brewing and Brewery Ommegang – and on some fascinating history. It is well worth a read.

The Hop Fest is a wonderful idea and it’s almost unbelievable that we’ve never heard of it over the past twelve years. Oneida, after all, is located just 30 miles from Syracuse and a bit over 100 miles from the Capital Region. The three day festival started off with a beer dinner at Bouckville’s Landmark Tavern on Friday night. Saturday began with a food pairing session matching a brewery with a local restaurant at the Historical Society’s grounds, followed by a three hour beer tasting that included over 20 (mostly regional) breweries. Sunday featured an all day hop tour of Madison County, with stops at several hop kilns as well as periodic pit stops for sustenance at local taverns.

Pretty interesting stuff. This article from the Oneida Dispatch gives a solid rundown of the events. It features a nice bit on Brown’s Brewing Company’s (Troy, NY) seasonal Harvest IPA, made with New York State hops. It’s a once yearly wet hopped IPA made exclusively with hops from Seneca and Rensselaer Counties. We haven’t tried this year’s batch yet, but last year’s was absolutely fantastic – fresh hop nose, great prickly body, bitter but balanced finish – a pretty perfect IPA. It’s really a wonderful thing to see a local brew pub doing this. How is it that we only hear about it through an article in another town’s paper? We may have missed out on the Hop Fest, but a visit to Brown’s is still within reach. Developing…

~ by bojangles on September 21, 2007.

One Response to “Hop Fests of Madison County”

  1. I had one of those Harvest IPA’s last year, it was excellent! Thanks for mentioning it.

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