Great Lakes Hop & Barley Conference to feature single hop craft beer tastings

Terroir, hops and craft beer.

Terroir is the “set of all environmental factors that affect a crop’s phenotype, unique environment contexts and farming practices, when the crop is grown in a specific habitat.” While terroir has been discussed in reference to wine for centuries, the concept has also been researched in other crops like coffee, tobacco, chocolate and hops. 

The “Hop Aroma Compendium, a flavor guide, Vol. 3” includes a section entitled “Comparison of Growing Areas” that illustrates the effect that growing region can have on hop flavor. For example, whereas a Cascade hop grown in the Yakima Valley may express notes of red berries and cream caramel, the same cultivar grown in New Zealand may be more closely associated with sweet fruits, citrus and woody aroma.

This is important because a brewer that may not like the flavor of a cascade hop grown in Washington’s Yakima Valley, may find a completely different aroma profile when the hop is grown elsewhere (like Michigan).

In order to highlight the potential terroir of Michigan grown hops, the annual Great Lakes Hop and Barley Conference will feature side-by-side craft beer comparisons using three different hop cultivars grown in the Pacific Northwest and Michigan. Brew Detroit will produce a total of six single hop craft beers for the event using the top three hops produced in the United States: Cascade, Chinook and Centennial. A hop-forward beer will be made using only PNW Cascade hops, and the exact same recipe will be followed with only Michigan-grown cascade hops. This will be repeated using Chinook and Centennial hops as well. Side-by-side comparisons will allow both brewers and growers to determine unique differences between Michigan hops and those grown in other parts of the U.S. Michigan State University Extension and the Michigan Brewers Guild are happy to add this important session to the agenda.

Sponsorship and vendors

If you are interested in sponsoring the 2017 conference, please see the conference sponsorship packet. Sponsorship opportunities, such as advertisement placement, will be determined on a first-come, first-served basis. To sign up as a sponsor please visit the conference registration website. Based on tremendous interest from the 2016 tradeshow, we are also pleased to once again offer a trade and equipment show at the 2017 conference once again. Vendors can sign up for a six-foot table space and for equipment space as well. Vendor space is limited and will also be offered on a first-come, first-served basis. For those interested in signing up for the trade show as a vendor, please register online. For more information about sponsorship, having a display at the event or to discuss payment options, please contact Betsy Braid at 517-884-7081 or


Westin Book Cadillac Hotel
1114 Washington Blvd
Detroit, Mich. 48226

Discounted lodging is available at the Westin Book Cadillac. Call 313-442-1600 by February 8, 2017, and mention you are part of the Great Lakes Hop and Barley Conference to receive the discounted nightly rate of $139 per night, plus tax. Alternatively, you can reserve your room online. Discounted overnight parking will also be available at $20 per night for valet or $15 per night for self-parking. 

Participant registration

Registration will only be accepted online at the Great Lakes Hop and Barley Conference registration site. Participant registration is $275 per person. Registration will include both days of meetings, a continental breakfast and lunch each day, as well as admittance into the Brewer/Grower Reception on Thursday evening. An optional Michigan Brewers Guild tour on the afternoon of March 3 is also available. Tickets are $50.

Optional tours

Two optional tours are available on Friday, March 3 in the afternoon:

MotorCity MaltHouse (2:30 - 4:30 p.m.)

An optional tour of the MotorCity MaltHouse is offered to conference registrants on Friday, March 3, starting at 2:30 p.m., immediately following the conference. The open house will run until 4:30 p.m. and is free, however transportation is not provided. Please indicate if you plan to attend during registration so the MotorCity MaltHouse has an accurate count of potential attendees. The address is:  51526 Shoenherr Rd., Shelby Township, MI.

Motor City Brew Tour - Special Brewery Bus Tour (2 - 6 p.m.)

Visit three breweries in downtown Detroit including: Traffic Jam & Snug Restaurant and Brewery, Motor City Brewing Works, and Brew Detroit! Let our beer centric tour guide and author/beer historian take you on a brewery crawl in Detroit. The cost of the Motor City Brew Tour is $50 per person and includes bus tour, food and beer samples. A separate registration is required for this optional tour, available at the Motor City Brew Tour registration website


A limited number of registrations will be reserved for members of the press. Please contact Betsy Braid at 517-884-7081 or for more information.

Cancellation policy

After February 1, 2017, cancellations will no longer be accepted.

For more information on hops and barley, please visit the Michigan State University Extension hops site or the Michigan State University Extension Barley site.

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