There is interest among Colorado gardeners in growing hops. The CSU Specialty Crops Program is conducting organic hops variety trials and over-wintering studies at the Horticulture Research Center (HRC) northeast of Fort Collins. Winter hardiness, alpha and beta acid values, brewing qualities, and yield will be evaluated for several varieties.
Preliminary observations on winter survival have been very good – 61 of the 66 hops rhizomes planted in 2004 survived. Canadian Red Vine, Chinook, Cascade, and Centennial were the first to flower on July 6, 2005. Canadian Red Vine, Chinook, and Cascade seemed to produce the most fruit cones during this first year of production in 2005 based on observation.
In 2007, there were very distinct yield differences in varieties demonstrating the necessity for conducting Colorado specific variety trials. Of the 13 varieties grown only six had harvests that were economically viable. Red Vine had the highest yield but it is an ornamental hop.