Rainy summer making impact on local farms as hops industry continues to grow statewide

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ALTAMONT, N.Y. (NEWS10) – The bouts of heavy rain throughout the summer posing some difficulties for certain crop yields. Despite the challenges posed by the rainy weather, one local farm is making the most out of a growing industry.

Some may think a lot of rain can be a good thing for crops, but when it comes to hops, too much rain can pose a number of challenges.

“We want a lot of water, but they don’t want to be wet, ironically. They grow funguses and things, especially during August, is the worst time,” Dietrich Gehring, the co-owner of Indian Ladder Farms’ Cidery & Brewery explained.

The amount of rain throughout the summer making an impact locally.

“We’ve had our largest yields out of the hop yard this year, but we’re also leaving the most behind, so it’s kind of bitter sweet,” Gehring said.

New York’s climate also makes it difficult to grow hops, compared to less humid places like out west. But despite the challenges, the local brewing industry has continued to grow across the state.

“There’s a lot of breweries that came into New York State in the last few years, and most of them are farm breweries. It’s helped out with some of the licensing, it’s helped out with some of the farms as well,” said Kevin Mullen, a member of the New York State Brewers Association and also the owner and head brewer at Rare Form Brewing.

At Indian Ladder Farms, their brewery has continued to expand.

“We were originally going to do hops as kind of like a commodity on this farm, and sell them to other breweries. Then when the Farm Brewery Law came in, we decided to put in our own little experimental brewery and now it’s grown to this,” Gehring said.

Today, the brewery collaborating to make a wet hop beer.

“Literally just pulled them off the vine and now they’re sitting with the hot wort, kind of like mending together and giving that beautiful aroma that we’re looking for,” said Scott Veltman, the head brewer at Indian Ladder Farms.

After going through the brewing process, the beer will be fermented for a few weeks before being ready.

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