UBC Farm Hopyard

About the UBC Farm Hopyard

The UBC Farm hopyard—a sustainable, certified organic, small-scale, and community centric hop farm—is located at the UBC Farm.

The UBC Farm hopyard was established as an undergraduate Self-Directed Study by Agroecology student Scott Bell. As a homebrewer, Scott sought to better understand what it takes to operate a small-scale hopyard in a mixed farm setting and hoped to identify hop varieties that were particularly suited to Vancouver’s damp, coastal climate. Taking advice from Left Fields Hops Farm in Sorrento, BC, Scott broke ground in 2010 to make a hopyard at UBC Farm a reality. It began with 70 plants at the farm and included varieties such as Centennial, Cascade, Hallertauer, Magnum, Mt. Hood, Nugget, Fuggle, Golding, Zeus, and Chinook. Now only four varieties were found to be viable at the UBC Farm’s yard: Cascade, Mt. Hood, Fuggle and Golding.

Also read: “Growing What Makes a Delicious, Local, Sustainable Brew” – UBC Sustainability

About hops

Hops are the flower of the female hop plant, Humulus lupulus, a perennial vine that can grow up to 6 metres in a single year. The UBC Farm makes teas from the hop flowers to sell at market and local florists use the often wasted bines as material for large wreaths.

Once harvested, these aromatic, cone-shaped flowers are used by brewers during the beer making process. Hops added to the brew kettle at the beginning of the boiling process give bitterness to the beer while hops added at the end of the boil contribute to the beer’s floral aroma and flavour. Hops are featured front and centre in many Pacific Northwestern pale ales and India pale ales (IPAs), providing a character that can range from piney to citrus. With the growth in small hopyards across the continent, these harvest ales have found growing popularity amongst brewers and beer enthusiasts. Following a new USDA rule change for companies that label their beer as organic, there is also an increasing demand for organic hops production.

Join the UBC Farm hop mailing list

Every year a small gathering of brewing enthusiasts gather at the UBC Farm for first come first serve organic hop rhizomes. Carefully grown by Mel Sylvestre, local hop enthusiast and biodiversity expert on staff at the UBC Farm. In the past we have generally made available Cascade, Fuggles, and Mount Hood hops in the summer and rhizomes in the spring for anyone interested to share.

Email farm.team@ubc.ca if you would like to join the UBC Farm Hopyard mailing list and be notified when our hops or hop rhizomes are available. This mailing list only sends two emails per year. Once to announce that rhizomes are available in the spring and again in late summer to announce the dates for u-pick hops.