Hop Picking with Southampton Publick House


When Southampton Publick House brews their fresh hop ale every year, the word fresh is no exaggeration. We recently pitched in a little time to help head brewer Evan Addario — and a few other volunteers — hand pick hops for the brew.

On a hot, humid Tuesday morning we headed east to Laurel Creek Landscape Nursery at around 8:30 am. There, we encountered several rows of hops grown exclusively for Southampton Publick House. The bines, not to be confused with vines, have been there for around nine years and the hop flavor continues to mature and develop with time.

That morning we got right to work, plucking the lush green cones right from the bine. Each hop is around an inch long and light as a feather, so it takes a lot of picking to obtain enough for a batch of beer. However, the bines produce hundreds of hops and just when you think you’ve picked them all, more seem to appear out of nowhere.

After around three hours of picking, we were all left with sticky, aromatic resin on our hands and 28 pounds of hops. Not bad for a bunch of amateurs.

Addario wasted no time putting the fruits of our labor to use and began brewing as soon as he returned to Southampton Publick House. About three quarters of the hops] were centennial, with magnum and cascade making up the rest. The base of the fresh hop beer is an ESB (extra special bitter); all 28 pounds of hops will be added right into the boil.

Just one week after brewing the beer, Addario and a new group of helpers returned to Laurel and picked an additional 12 pounds. These are used for dry hopping the beer, which basically means the hops will sit in the beer for about a week to impart more flavor.

Look for North Fork Fresh Hop to be on tap in the tasting room in Southampton by Labor Day.