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On July 7th, we took a quick trip to Paonia Colorado to visit High Wire Hops and check in on the status of this years crop. Below is a Photo Essay of our visit.

High Wire Hops Farm

When we arrived at 2pm, it was 95 degrees! Too hot for a visit and way too hot for a farm tour in the sun. So we went to the river to cool off for a few hours. This photo was taken at the warmest part of the day. Did you know that hops need at least 6-8 hours of direct sunlight per day for a bountiful harvest?

High Wire Hops_David
After the temperature cooled off we reconnected with David (Farm Owner and Manager) of High Wire Hops for a tour of their 8 acres of crops. David’s enthusiasm and passion for agriculture was contagious. He has over 14 years of growing experience and has worked on a number of organic vegetable and herb farms in Washington, Oregon and currently now in Colorado.
High Wire Hop Stocks

Did you know that hops are hardy perennial plants??  They are a climbing plant that climbs by its shoots every year! Each bine needs to be hand trained and gently wrapped clockwise around hop twine. This process takes a few days, plant by plant row after row. At this close of a look you could deeply sense the living nature and character of each plant. It’s said that at peak growth you can literally see each bine slowly growing and wrapping itself around its twine. These plants are fascinating living organisms!

High Wire Hops_Cascade

High on our curiosity list was the status of their Cascade variety (the primary hop variety used in our farmhouse ales). At this early stage in the season they were looking spidery or fly like. They were about a week behind in size comparison to other varieties but very spry and healthy. We were very pleased with how they were maturing. We’re going to brew a fresh hop beer this year with them. Fresh Hopping is when you take the hops straight from the field without drying them and use them in a batch. We can’t wait!

High Wire Hops_Varieties
We also saw three additional hop varieties that High Wire offers: Nugget, CTZ and Chinook. A few of these varieties were thriving based on their location which was east of a few oak trees. The shade that they receive early in the evening from these trees allows their growth to progress faster than the plants located more directly in the sun. The cones on these varieties were thick in size and color.
High Wire Hops_Deer

As we were walking up and down each row we were meet with this very curious fawn! She almost looks photoshopped but trust me she’s not. She was very comfortable, engaging and allured by the sound of the cameras shutter.

High Wire Hops_Dinner

We took a break for dinner, grilled burgers in the shade and cracked open a bottle of our “Casey Experience Blend” hopped with last year’s Cascade hops from this very farm. We ate, drank and admired the beautiful view of the farm from our dinner table.

High Wire Hops_Sunset

As the sun set on Mount Lamborn it lit up in beautiful hues of pink and purple. At this time of night the temperatures finally dropped to a level of cool comfort (low to mid 60’s) that we had been waiting for all day. A cool breeze swept through the valley and the hops came alive as they swayed gently back and fourth until sundown.

We would like to thank David for his time and hospitality!

It’s looking like a great harvest is to come!