Hop growers encouraged to enter the 2nd annual Chinook Cup

Michigan growers vie for the coveted prize.

MI Local’s Alex Wiesen (left) and Jason Warren (tightly gripping trophy) receive the 2017 Chinook Cup from the Hop Growers of Michigan.
MI Local’s Alex Wiesen (left) and Jason Warren (holding trophy) receive the 2017 Chinook Cup from the Hop Growers of Michigan. All photos by Rob Sirrine, MSU Extension.

Attention Michigan hop growers. It’s that time of year again! The Hop Growers of Michigan is now accepting entries for the 2018 HGM Chinook Cup and Wild Card Division Championship. Modeled after the national Cascade Cup, the Michigan Chinook Cup is awarded to the Great Beer State’s best Chinook hop grower as determined by a panel of expert craft brewers and hop producers through a series of “blind” tests. The samples are judged based upon aroma, appearance, and analytical test results.

In 2017 the expert judges included: John Mallet, Director of Operations at Bell’s Brewery; Alec Mull, Vice President of Brewing Operations at Founders Brewing Company; John Stewart, Head Brewer at Perrin Brewing Company; Diane Gooding, Vice President of Operations for Gooding Farms; and Jeremy Kosmicki, Head Brewer at Founders Brewing Company.  Hop Growers of Michigan awarded the inaugural Chinook Cup to MI Local Hops, Empire Hop Farms  (Empire, MI) was awarded second place, and Top-Hops (Goodrich, MI) received third place for their Chinook submission. Mr. Wizard’s Hops (Monroe, MI) and Mystique Hops received Honorable Mentions in the “Wild Card” hop category for Michigan growers who do not grow Chinook hops. 

To participate in the competition you must be a member of Hop Growers of Michigan, (HGM is still accepting membership applications). Members should submit a brewer’s cut or ½ lb. vacuum sealed sample by Dec. 1, 2018. Each entry will be provided an identifier via a Random Number Generator (RNG). A Certificate of Analysis (COA) must accompany each submission along with a $20 entry fee. 

Send submissions, COA, and $20 to:

Rose Stahl

2646 W. Albain

Monroe, MI. 48161. 

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. 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. 

2nd annual Chinook Cup (2)

Chinook hop cones. 

If you would like to learn more about Michigan hop or barley production, mark your calendars for the Great Lakes Hop and Barley Conference, which will take place Mar. 1-2, 2019 at the Park Place Hotel and Conference Center in Traverse City, MI. Also, please continue to visit Michigan State University Extension’s hop webpage or the MSU Hops News Facebook site for up to date information. 

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