Dog Star Hops takes home the coveted Chinook Cup in annual hop quality competition
Michigan hop farms recognized for excellence during the 2022 Michigan Great Beer State Conference.
For anyone involved in the Michigan beer industry, the Michigan Great Beer State Conference and Trade Show held at the Grand Traverse Resort in Traverse City, Michigan, was the place to be last week. The conference was the first in-person combined conference among the Michigan Brewers Guild, Michigan State University Extension and Master Brewers Association of the Americas (MBAA) District Michigan. The conference included presentations from experienced beer industry professionals from across the U.S. that covered all aspects of the craft beer value chain.
Of particular interest, the Hop Growers of Michigan awarded the fifth annual Chinook Cup and Wild Card awards. Modeled after the national Cascade Cup, the Michigan Chinook Cup is awarded to the best Chinook hop grower as determined by a panel of expert craft brewers through a series of blind sensory tests. This year, judges evaluated six Chinook entries and five Wild Card entries. Scoring was provided for appearance/color, aroma and brewing values. The expert judges included Alec Mull, Jeremy Kosmicki and Jason Vrosh from Founders Brewing Company; Andy Farrell, Paul Bashaw and Derek Zominski from Bells Brewery; and Dakota Amrit-Wall from North Center Brewing Company.
Meet the 2022 winners
- 1st place: Dog Star Hops, Jim Mikesell and Ken Porter, Charlotte, Michigan
- 2nd place: Elk River Hops, Dave and Mike Batkie, Carsonville, Michigan
- 3rd place: Top Hops Farm, Mark and Sean Trowbridge, Goodrich, Michigan
Dog Star Hops will have their farm name engraved on the Chinook Cup and receive a Keepsake Cup to proudly display.
Wild Card Division
- 1st place: Pure Mitten Hops, Hop: Paradigm; Mary and Morey Dieleman; Coopersville, Michigan
- 2nd place: Taylor Hops, Hop: Michigan Copper; Todd and Stacey Taylor; Greenville, Michigan
- 3rd place: Two Track Farms, Hop: Mackinac; Mitch and Brenda Immink, Hamilton, Michigan
Why Michigan Chinook hops?
Although there are over 100 different varieties of hops used by craft brewers across the U.S., the top three hops have consistently been Cascade, Centennial and Chinook. The Chinook hop, released in 1985, is the result of a cross between Petham Golding and a USDA male plant. Chinook are a “dual purpose” hop used for both bittering and aroma (see figure below). In their quest to brew “standout” flavorful beers, many craft brewers have become increasingly interested in newer proprietary varieties such as Simcoe and Citra.
However, a small but growing number of brewers have begun to recognize that hops of the same variety, when grown in different locations with distinct soils and climate, impart different flavor profiles.
In contrast to Chinook grown in the Pacific northwest that is generally known for its piney, spicy, dank attributes, Michigan Chinook is a cultivar that is increasingly recognized for its citrusy, clean profile.