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Hop harvest arrives at Steamworks Brewing Co. to make special beer

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Wednesday, Aug. 23, 2017 2:49 PM
Paul Black, center, owner of Pine River Hops, feeds hops into a portable harvester on Wednesday as Kevin Lombard, left, associate professor with the New Mexico State University Agriculture Center in Farmington, and Jim Hendricks, help out in front of Steamworks Brewing Co. on Wednesday morning. The hops were harvested at the Bayfield-area farm and are being used to brew Colorado Proud Pale Ale, a beer that is made only with Colorado ingredients.
Fresh hops from Pine River Hops are being used to brew Colorado Proud Pale Ale. Steamworks Brewing Co. is making the beer with ingredients exclusively gathered from Colorado suppliers.
Paul Black, owner of Pine River Hops, feeds hops into a portable harvester as others help out Wednesday morning in front of Steamworks Brewing Co. The hops were harvested at the Bayfield-area farm and are being used to brew Colorado Proud Pale Ale, a beer that is made with exclusively Colorado ingredients.
Paul Black, center, owner of Pine River Hops, feeds hops into a portable harvester on Wednesday as Kevin Lombard, left, associate professor with the New Mexico State University Agriculture Center in Farmington, and Jim Hendricks, help out in front of Steamworks Brewing Co. on Wednesday morning. The hops were harvested at the Bayfield area farm and are being used to brew Colorado Proud Pale Ale, a beer that is made only with Colorado ingredients.
Fresh hops from Pine River Hops are being used to brew Colorado Proud Pale Ale, a beer being brewed at Steamworks Brewing Co. that is made only with Colorado ingredients.

A sweet and calming aroma filled the air in front of Steamworks Brewing Co. on Wednesday morning as a mobile hop harvester stripped cones from vines.

The harvester rumbled as the tines removed the hops and leaves, and the conveyor belts separated leaves and cones and spit out buckets of hops, destined for the mash tun, a huge metal pot, where they will steep, Steamworks Head Brewer Ken Martin said.

In 17 or 18 days, Steamworks will be ready to pour its Colorado Proud Pale Ale with a distinct flavor derived from the local hops, he said.

Kiln-dried and pelletized hops are common ingredients in many beers. He likened using fresh hops to swapping fresh fruit for dried fruit in any recipe.

"It tastes and smells fresher," he said.

Paul Black delivered about 60 pounds of Chinook and Cascade hops recently harvested from his farm in the Pine River Valley for the ale, he said.

Steamworks also plans to use Colorado-produced yeast and barley grown in the San Luis Valley.

"We just wanted to showcase the ingredients that are made here locally," he said.

The company expects to make about 10 barrels of the ale.

mshinn@durangoherald.com

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