First Regional Hops Processing Facility Brewing in Palisade
PALISADE, Colo. Local Colorado hops are becoming well-known for their high quality and now one Palisade farm hopes to be known for another accomplishment. After years of effort, High Country Hops Farm has their hops processing facility up and running. They say it is the first of its kind in the Rocky Mountain Region. From the bine to a brew, hops must undergo a specialized process. Ben Walton, head of processing and sales for High Country Hops Farm, said, "As soon as we harvest the plants out of field onto the flatbed trailer, the trailer will be brought around to the picking machine." The window to process the high-demand plant is time-sensitive. "After the hops are picked they will come up the conveyor and be distributed into the drying boxes. The hops will drop through the roof and onto conditioning, and it's really important for them to be conditioned," said Walton. At High Country Hops Farm the entire process can be done within a mile. "We knew we could grow, but once you grew, where did it go to be processed, and what form did craft brewers want it in?" said general manager Brett Walton. "We have the ability to process our own as well as other growers hops," said Ben. They are the first in the Rocky Mountain Region to pelletize hops, a process critical to storing the product for months. "They want them picked, dried, baled, pelletized and even bagged, versus shipping stuff to the Northwest," said Walton. By keeping the entire process in Colorado, on one farm, they hope to raise the bar for high-quality hops. They have packaging available for home-brewers and large-scale brewers.