I have four hop varieties growing in my yard; Hallertauer, EK Goldings, Cascade, and Centennial. 95% of my harvest was from Cascade with nothing from Hallertauer and EK Goldings. As I prune and prepare the hop roots for next year, I am curious, is it worth even growing anything but Cascade? The Cascade Hops I did harvest had a lighter flavor than I observe in commercial hops and was daring enough to use them for bittering, I suspect the alpha acid is between 4-5%, a little lower than usually advertised but still delicious.
So my question is, has anyone had success with anything except Cascade in this area? If so and you also planted cascade, can you relate yields to cascade?
Appreciate any insight provided.
John, Absolutely worth growing as each strain will adapt and pick-up it's own flavor from the conditions it faces.
Hops originating in Europe, especially north central countries, face far less extreme heat in summer than on the east coast. If average temps in England/Germany are low 80's / high 70's during peak summer, the 90's are a constant stress test for those strains here at home.
Various hop varieties were grown in the 1880's in New England and upstate NY (before moving to the better climate of the Pacific Northwest) but again somewhat less heat than in the mid-Atlantic. You'll have better success with the heartier strains like Cascade, Northern Brewer, Columbus. Also many bines take 2-3 years to spread their roots for good harvests so the brewer's patience is paramount.
Maybe consider planting strains from southern Germany & Czech will stand-up to the heat better.
Let us know how you move forward for next season.
My friend grows Willamette near Red Bank, NJ. The Willamette produces a ton of cones and almost overgrows the one side of his deck, in a solid wall 9 ft long and almost two feet thick. No experience with Cascade, though. I would be saddened that his wife wants to kill off the hops, but I think in the long run, they'll win.. she doesn't know what she is going up against..
If nothing else, diversify and make your own house blend of hops!
One important variable which I forgot to mention is your soil. Matt's post hit inadvertently on this as the soil near the shore is much lighter than our clay here in Bucks. Clay soil is rough an getting roots to penetrate and spread, and they have a tendency to bunch up. You may want to consider break-down the clay as much as possible with sand, compost, and lime. I'll bet you a beer, if you begin treating your hop soil in the next few weeks before any heavy frost sets-in that your hops will be thanking you kindly over the next couple of growing seasons.