Hops are not a Maryland crop, but Frederick-based Flying Dog Brewery would like to change that. It recently brewed a beer with hops harvested as part of an experiment in Maryland.
Flying Dog has been working with the University of Maryland School of Agriculture for the last four years, on research that may lay the groundwork for a commercially viable hop that would grow well in Maryland’s climate.
The school and brewery hope to identify best practices for growing and harvesting hops in the mid-Atlantic state.
“As we wrap up the fourth growing season of this project, it is evident that we can produce hops in Maryland,” said University of Maryland extension agent Bryan Butler. “The question that remains however is, can a consistent, high quality, profitable crop be produced? We intend to continue to work to find answer to these questions.”
Flying Dog is a major financial contributor of the project. In addition to funding, Flying Dog also provides the school with analysis of the yearly hops, yield to identify the hop varieties that grow well in Maryland and provide commercial appeal to the craft beer industry.
Flying Dog uses the most promising hop varietals from this year’s crop to brew a Maryland-themed Pale Ale called Field Notes.
The 16-ounce cans come in four packs and are available at a handful of retailers and Flying Dog tasting rooms in Fredrick.
Sales will help continue funding the hops research project, which is ongoing at the University of Maryland’s Western Maryland Research and Extension center in Keedysville, Maryland.
Flying Dog produced a Field Notes beer this past spring with hops from the third years’ harvest. Hops plants generally take until year four to fully mature and develop their true flavor, Flying Dog said.