In September of 2018, Blue Lake Hops began the arduous process of re-inventing the wheel in the world of hop processing. With 100lbs of cascade hops from a local Michigan grower along with help from the Michigan State University Product Innovation Center, ‘The Blue Lake Process®’ was born. ‘The Blue Lake Process®’ preserves fresh hops right off the bine without the need for drying, pulverizing and extruding.
From September to January 2018, 100lbs of cascade hops remained frozen in storage. Samples were tested monthly for alpha and beta acid percentages, as well as other chemical components of hops related to the flavor and aroma qualities. Test results relating to the integrity of the product over time were promising and, after the first of the year, we decided to take the next step in testing our new process asking local home-brewers to lead the charge.
In January of 2019, through the help of local home-brew supply stores, we placed test packets of the product in the capable hands of home-brewers. Utilizing an online survey, we asked for feedback about packaging, aroma, flavor, and overall appeal and interest in the product. The results were immediately positive and continue to praise our unique process.
What is it?
‘The Blue Lake Process®’ is an alternative fresh hop product for brewing. Our hop products allow access to fresh off the bine hops up to a year from the harvest date to home-brewers and those seeking to create harvest-style beers just like those produced by large commercial craft breweries.
‘The Blue Lake Process®’ is the result of an objective outlook on the rebirth of the hops industry within Michigan and other non-traditional hop growing areas. Central to this outlook and rebirth is how new hop entrepreneurs joining the hop growing industry could create a viable business based in the terroir of growing regions and the micro-climates within them. Another goal was to mitigate the costs related to traditional hop processing methods which typically include very expensive processing equipment.