Mighty Axe Hops: Terroir Field Day

St. Croix Sensory was proud to participate in the “Terroir Field Day” held at the Mighty Axe Hops farm August 2019 in Foley, MN.  Over 50 attendees spent the day learning about the agriculture of hops and how this wonderful flower brings flavors to beer. Hops terroir refers to the flavor differences found between the same hop variety grown in different regions.

St. Croix Sensory had a tabletop display of hop variety samples from Minnesota and the Northwestern U.S.  Whole cone hops as well as samples of ground-up hops were available for visitors to experience the differences and learn more about how our sensory panels assess hops.

The event started with a luncheon and educational seminar teaching attendees the basics of hops including growing, harvesting, drying, storage and distribution.  After a farm tour under the hot sun, attendees were treated to beer samples during a second seminar presented by St. Croix Sensory’s sensory scientist, Kirsten Weiss.  The two beers were the same base beer with one brewed with a Minnesota hop and the second brewed with the same hop variety from the Northwest.  Kirsten instructed the eager group on how to properly assess a beer including sniffing techniques and sensory attribute identification.  Fun was had by all as they enjoyed each other’s company while tasting the beers.

St. Croix Sensory is working with Mighty Axe Hops and the University of Minnesota on a sensory study to compare terroir in Minnesota versus Northwestern U.S. grown hops.  This study is made possible by support from the Minnesota Department of Agriculture and Sustainable Agriculture Demonstration Grants.