Harvest Time For Starpoint Brewing

All the long hours, the cuts, scrapes, bruises and hops rashes the we have inquired through out the season are about to pay off. We have done our fair share of weed pulling, trellis adjusting, and planting for the season. We have strung the bines, stripped the bines, untangled bines, and re strung bines. We have taken countless photos and videos to document our seasons growth. We have contacted professionals for help and we have helped other as well. We would love to sit back and relax this weekend, but we have harvesting to do.

We will be harvesting Chinook and Cascade at the NC yard and Chinook from our VA yard. The VA hops will be driven to the NC yard and placed in the walk in cooler there. We will package and then deliver these beautiful cones to Starpoint Brewing on Sunday morning. Starpoint is located in Carrboro, NC just a few miles from our yard. They specialize in hop forward beer styles. What will they brew? Who knows. From what we have sampled, it is sure to be good.

Look for our hops in a Starpoint ale soon. We can’t wait to get our hands on a pint or two.

Follow Starpoint



We have something up our sleeves for the following weekend as well. More details coming soon.



How to Determine Moisture Content for Harvest Analysis

To easily determine the current moisture content of your hops, there is a simple formula to use. First, you will need a scale that measures grams. The smaller the increment of measure the better. If you have a scale that measures in 1/10th grams, even better.

Steps 1- Harvest cones randomly throughout your yard of one variety. You want to get at least 150 grams.

Step 2- Measure the cones in grams and write this number down.

Step 3- Dry the cones over night in a food dehydrator. Do not exceed 140 degrees. Measure the weight in the morning and continue drying. Measure again until you have the same weight consistently. Once the weight no longer decreases, stop the drying process.

Step 4- Take a measurement in grams and write this down.

Step 5- Math.

Wet weight – dry weight = X
X ➗ wet weight = moisture content.

So lets say we harvest 150 grams. We dry them down to 31 grams.

150-31= 119

119 ➗ 150 = .793333 or 79.3% moisture.

We now know the moisture content is 79.3% and the dry matter is 20.7%

Research has show that hops will gain about 1% dry matter per 5-7 days. So if you are looking to harvest at 20% dry matter and your dry matter is 17%, you can do some quick math and figure when prime harvest is.

Cheers and happy harvest!

How to Take Cuttings From Early Spring Shoots

A great way to expand your yard in the early spring is to take cuttings and root them yourself. It is very easy to do with just a few simple materials. Scissors, potting soil, water and some patience are all you really need.

1- Sharp Scissors. Your cuttings need to be clean and not torn or pinched when taken. A good pair of scissors will do the trick. They tend to do much better than pruning shears.


2- Let your earliest shoots put out 3 to 4 leaf structures. This will enable you to get several cuttings per shoot.


3- Gently pull on the shoots. They will have likely developed their own root system. Make your first cut just below the newly developed roots. This will insure at least one successful cutting.


4- Make your cuts. Take each cutting about 1 inch below the leaf structure. This particular shoot gave us 5 cuttings.


5- Place your cuttings in moist potting soil or peat moss dishes. (Found at garden centers.) We use plug trays from a local greenhouse supply company.



Water the cuttings thoroughly. Keep your soil moist but not saturated. On hot, sunny days it helps to mist them slightly a few times. Keeps the stress levels down.

When you are through, you will have a bounty of wonderful baby hops.

After a few weeks roots will have established.


In about 3-4 weeks, you will have a fully rooted plant. Move this plant into a larger container. Plant it flush to the soil surface.


Good luck and have fun propagating your own hops cuttings.


2013 Expansion


We just completed back to back weekends of hops yard expansion for our North Carolina Hops Yard and our Virginia Hops Yard. Very labor intensive indeed. With a lot of heavy lifting, pushing, pulling, swinging, sliding and any other descriptive wording related to farm labor, we nearly have the job done. Just a few more poles to set.

For those of you not familiar with hops yards, you need a very tall trellis system to max out your harvest each year. We harvest downed, dead and or dying cedar trees and cut them to lengths of 19’6″. After hauling these behemoths from the forest to the yard, we then have to set them. Doing so requires a good 3 to 4 foot hole. We meet in the middle and set them 3’6″. So by the end these suckers are standing 16 feet tall, towering over the fields of our farms. We walk these guys to a standing position and set them. This uses every muscle in your body. It hurts, it burns, it aches and it rewards us. Nothing is more rewarding than hearing that thud sound when a pole sets itself properly 3’6″ into the ground. Pack and tamp the ground around the pole and you’re done…for that pole, only a handful more to go. By days end, the body is worn, hands cramped and covered in sap, dirt and blood. Is it worth it we ask ourselves? Hell yes it is! We love what we do and we look forward to each year we can expand.

With this years rhizomes as well as plant stock grown in a greenhouse at the VA yard, we will have almost tripled our numbers from last season. Something in which we never dreamed of.

For the 2013 season, Piedmont Hops is proudly growing over an estimated 200 hops.
85 Cascade
38 Chinook
48 Nugget
27 Columbus
10 Sterling (test variety in NC)
4 Centennial (test variety in VA)


Thank you for reading and following along as we grow. We appreciate the support.

David Goode

Steve Brown

Piedmont Hops, LLC

Reduce Reuse Recycle

We recently received a phone call in regards to contacting local breweries for the use of their spent grains for our raised beds as compost and weed control.  We contacted Eric, of Hardywood Park and they were kind enough to offer some grains.  Unfortunately, we have not had time to make the trip into Richmond to pick any up.  However, we got in touch with a very local venue for our grain needs.

Extra Billys Smokehouse and Brewery just south of Richmond, VA has decided to revamp their brewery.  They hired a new brewer, Brandon Tolbert.  We were able to get in touch with Brandon and a quick grain pick up was underway.  We scooped up few trash cans worth of heavy, wet grains and hauled them off to our hops yard in Chesterfield, VA.  Brandon has been kind enough to call us anytime grains are available.  He called recently with the opportunity to pick up dry grains (past expiration).  We picked up the expired dry grains and used those as well.  Some of which (400 lbs) we delivered to the folks at Broadfork Farm.  They are going to be using some dry grains for chicken feed.  The rest are being spread over the Cascade, Chinook and Nugget rows here in VA.

With the simple formula of Reduce Reuse Recycle, many people benefited from the grain pickup.  Brandon didn’t have to haul them away, we were able to find some compost and manage weeds and some chickens were fed some delicious Chocolate Malts.  Its not everyday chickens get to eat chocolate malt.

So, thank you Brandon for the grains and here is to Reducing, Reusing and Recycling!


Thank you for reading,

David and Steve


Clink the link below for-

Extra Billys story from Richmond Biz Sense



Grains headed to Broadfork Farm


Spent grains over Cascade beds


Thank You For Your Support

As the 2012 hops season comes to an end, we begin our planning phase for 2013.  We learned, discovered, created, failed, taught and succeeded throughout the season.  With success in our first year, 2013 looks to be just as exciting.

We would like to thank each and every one of you for your support and interest in our vision.  We would like to thank Howard Covington for his quality rhizomes from his hops farm in NC.  A much appreciated logo and website was designed by the guys at Provis Media Group.   A special thank you to Ben at Haw River Farmhouse Ales for our first brewery hops delivery.  Thanks Ben for the support!  Thanks to Jonathan and Dan for the help with trellis construction.  Dan, Sarah and Kathryn we thank you for helping with the harvest in VA.  A big thank you to all you guys and gals out there in Social Media land.  We appreciate you following us on Facebook, Vimeo and Twitter.  Most importantly, a huge THANK YOU to our families at Peaceful River Farms and Swift Creek Berry Farm for the land to grow on.  With out you guys, none of this would be possible.

Thank you all for a wonderful first year.  We look forward to the many years ahead growing hops in Virginia and North Carolina.


Much appreciation,

David Goode and Steve Brown.



The Virginia Farm

Piedmont Hops is located in Virginia and North Carolina.  We are lucky enough to have family that own enough spare land to help us get up and running.  The Virginia farm sparked the idea of growing hops commercially.  David began growing his own hops for home brewing in the spring of 2011.  He saw instant success with a few small harvest of Cascade and Chinook.  So a larger plan was set in place and Swift Creek Berry Farm and Greenhouse had just the spot.

Our Virginia farm resides at Swift Creek Berry Farm and Greenhouse.  The farm is located about 15 miles south of Richmond in Moseley, VA.  Swift Creek Berry Farm is owned and operated by David’s family.  David works the farm full time and tends to the hops during lunch breaks and on the weekends.   The farm is quite busy all year.  From late January they are prepping the greenhouses with thousands of  annuals and hanging baskets for their greenhouse market, whole sale clients and landscapers.  Greenhouse season ends around late May to early June.  Sometime around mid/late June, their blueberry season begins.  They have a 12 acre pick your own blueberry farm.  They began growing and picking blueberries in the mid 80’s.  Swift Creek Berry Farm has become one of Virginia’s largest pick your own blueberry operations.  As soon as the fruit season ends, they are back at the greenhouses prepping 30,000 to 40,000 pansies for their fall crop.  As well as pansies they grow pumpkins and gourds for their fall pumpkin patch. From then on till January they split and delivery firewood to the surrounding RVA.

Our hops are located on an old blueberry field that did not see success.  We worked the old raised beds, tapped into the irrigation lines, constructed the trellis and adjusted the pH. We were very excited to be able to put the old field back into good use.  The hops yard sits at the edge of a successful blueberry field and rolls down a slopping hillside.  On early spring mornings, you can hear the turkeys gobble.  In the summer, if you are really lucky, you may hear a few quail singing.

So, thanks to the guys at Swift Creek Berry Farm and Greenhouse for giving us the opportunity to grow hops in VA.  With out you, your willingness to donate land and your endless supply of equipment, this project would not be possible.  Piedmont Hops thanks you!

Look for a future article on our other location at Peaceful River Farms located in North Carolina.


Thank you for reading,

David and Steve

Piedmont Hops



The Future at Piedmont Hops

Piedmont hops started as a small scale hops operation.  We are located in two separate states.  The NC yard is located at Peaceful River Farm just outside of Chapel Hill and the VA yard is located at Swift Creek Berry Farm and Greenhouse just south of Richmond.  We started small for several reason, but looking back, we wish we had gone just a bit further in our operation.  So what does one do?  Plant more hops of course!

For the 2013 season, we have some big plans in store.  We are going to double our Cascade production.  Cascade is the workhorse hop for most brewers of fine Pale Ales and IPA’s.  We noticed the need and we are going to respond. Not only are we going to double the Cascade, we are going to do the same for our Nugget and Chinook.  There is very little supply of hops in NC and VA, and the high alpha acid varieties are growing in demand.  With that demand on the rise, we are going to plant 2 new varieties in the high alpha range.  We tested Columbus and Centennial in the VA yard.  Columbus did great and Centennial passed the test.   We will plant 20+ of each variety in both yards.  Our final gut instinct is to plant a Noble hops varieties as well.  We plan to test some Hallertau?  Those are the plans for the 2013 season.  We cant wait to get started.  As a matter of fact, the VA yard is being prepped at this very moment.

Cheers and stay bitter!

David and Steve





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