Have you ever wondered just how local your “local beer” actually is?
Andrew Tralka and his wife Jaclyn, founders of Farm to Pint, encourage beer lovers to ask the next time they’re enjoying a brew.
“A lot of times places say ‘local beer’ but they’re getting their hops from way out of state,” Mr. Tralka explained. For those who don’t know, hops are the female flowers of the hop plant that are used as a flavoring and stability agent in beer.
The Tralkas are trying to redefine what local craft beer really means. Last year they started a one-acre hop yard on a family farm (C.J. Van Bourgondien) and have received a warm welcome from beer fans and brewers alike.
“We’re trying to show that beer is agriculture and needs to be cultivated from the ground up,” Mr. Tralka said.
Local businesses have been jumping on board to use the hops, including Long Island Spirits who will use them in their next batch of Pine Barren Single Malt Whisky. Still, their biggest success has been their hop growing kits.
If you drive past Raphael Vineyards in Peconic, you’ll notice a Farm to Pint sign and table with plants in front of C.J. Van Bourgondien Greenhouses. For $10 you can purchase a hop plant kit, which includes your favorite varietal of hop plant (there are five types), a bundle of twine, and a set of instructions for growing the plant.
Mr. Tralka said that the plants are nice ornamentally because they look pretty and give off a pleasant aroma, and would make a great decoration for a trellis since they grow climbing upward.
And, of course, the plants are also for home brewers. He said that nowadays there are easy how-to kits for brewing your own beer, but he also encourages amateurs to email him with any questions ([email protected]) or visit a brew site like Hoptron Brewtique in Patchogue for help.