Lizzy Alfs Nashville Tennessean Published 7:09 AM EDT Jul 3, 2019 On farms in the northern part of Michigan’s Lower Peninsula, row after row of hops vines stretch as far as the eye can see. Those hops plants are harvested and used to supply the booming beer industry in the state, which is home to 357 craft breweries and ranks fifth in the nation, according to the Brewers Association. But just 10 years ago, Michigan’s hops industry was essentially nonexistent. Farmers in the Great Lakes State, in tandem with the explosive rise of craft beer, realized the climate and soil were prime for hops and there was significant demand for locally grown varieties of the cone shaped flower that adds bitterness and flavor complexity to beer. Today, Michigan is the fourth largest hops producer in the U.S., and farmers across the state are reaping the benefits, according to the Hop Growers of America. An ambitious, eighth generation farmer in Middle Tennessee wants to replicate that phenomenon in the Volunteer State — except with malted barley, which is typically the main ingredient in beer, instead of hops. Contrary to popular opinion, that craft beer from your favorite Nashville brewery most… Read full this story
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