Long Ireland Beer Company + Greenport Harbor Brewing = Local Hop Support

Tomorrow, Friday September 20, 2013, Long Ireland Beer Company & Greenport Harbor Brewing will both be releasing their recently brewed fresh hop ales. Long Ireland will be hosting a release party at their brewery in Riverhead (817 Pulaski St) from 3-9 pm where both beers will be for sale. All proceeds from wet hop beer sales during the event will be donated right back to Condzella Hops and Wesnofske Farms, who supplied the hops for these brews. John Condzella and Justin Wesnofske will both be in attendance talking about hops and ready to field any questions you may have. Fresh hopped ale is best consumed when it is fresh (go figure) so don’t wait to pick up a bottle. The supply is limited and once it is gone you will not have a chance to try it again until 2014.

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As has been the theme this entire hop harvest season, brewers and farmers are really working together to make Long Island a stand out in the hop farming scene. Though hops still need to be brought in for the majority of day to day brewing, its clear that the local ingredient base is growing. We are anxious to see how many farmers have already planted the seeds, literally, and will be harvesting their very own hops next year. In the coming years who knows, West Coast breweries might be clamoring for a fresh picked batch of Long Island hops.

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So head down to the brewery tomorrow and buy a pint, bottle or growler and do your part to support Long Island hop farming by drinking some delicious local beer. Also, while you are there you can check out Long Irelands new 12 tap system. Hope to see some (or all) of you there!

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Condzella Hops: "Beer Loves Company + Hops" is Here!

After a long journey overseas from Germany to New York,  Beer Loves Company + Hops (formerly known as the Wolf WHE 140 Hopfen Pflückmaschine harverster) has finally arrived at its new home: Condzella Hops. As a result of their successful Kickstarter campaign, Condzella Hops was able to bring this machine to Long Island in order to more efficiently harvest their hop crop and start to re-spark the growth of the “New York Hop“. Though this was obviously an exciting arrival, it did not come without its share of work to do. Since the machine is so large it was unable to be shipped in one piece, though John Condzella chose an open air container for shipping so the harvester would not have to be cut in half. Instead, it arrived with a myriad of extra pieces, chains and belts that all need to be reassembled. With a little help from some friends, John has been working diligently on the harvester and it is almost ready to make its debut. Hops have a very short window in which they can be harvested, and that time is rapidly approaching. John estimates that the machine will be ready for action this weekend and the hop harvest will begin next week. We will be there for the inaugural harvest (and hope to bring some hops home for a fresh hop brew day), so look for more coming soon! Also, be sure to visit Condzella Hops and Beer Loves Company at the North Fork Craft Beer, BBQ & Wine Festival at Martha Clara Vineyards this Saturday!

Condzella Hops – Money Raised, Here Come the Hops

Good news east coast craft beer enthusiasts: the New York hop is back! John Condzella of Condzella’s Farm (and hops) reached and surpassed his Kickstarter goal of $27,000 to bring a hop harvester to Long Island. John has already raised close to $29,000 from almost 300 different backers and the campaign will still be running until this Sunday, March 10.

With the German Wolf WHE 140 Hopfen Pflückmaschine now definitely relocating to the United States, Condzella Hops is extremely excited for its arrival. John will be traveling overseas soon to finalize the transaction and expects to have the machine home on Long Island in June. Once it arrives, a little electrical work will need to be done to have it up and running by mid-August, when the hop harvest will begin. Look for some coverage here when the machine arrives and as it is getting “spruced up” for it’s August debut.

This is a pivotal time for Long Island agriculture and craft beer alike. We are on the verge of a whole new industry opening up right in our backyards and this is just the beginning. John knows he couldn’t have done it without the support of the community and said “I am sincerely grateful to all of my backers. As of today, it was the 296 people who believed in my project that made it happen!”. To that we say, we can’t wait for the hop picking to begin.

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Condzella's Hops (Farm) Trying to Kickstart the N.Y. Hop

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Condzella’s Farm is a name you may have heard floating around among the Long Island beer community lately. Both Port Jeff Brewing Company and Long Ireland Beer Company have produced beers using their fresh/wet hops which are grown locally in Wading River (review of Long Ireland Wet-Hopped Pale Ale). Condzella’s Farm has been in operation since the mid 1800’s, when it started off as a dairy farm. In the 1920’s, they switched over to primarily growing potatoes and limited produce. Today, they have transitioned yet again into harvesting fruits, vegetables and one of the essential components of beer: hops under the moniker Condzella’s Hops.

Although Long Island has an ideal climate for hop farming, the crop is rare on the east coast and most hop harvesting is done on several large, west coast farms. This makes it extremely difficult for east coast breweries to produce entirely local beers and especially hard to brew them with wets. It wasn’t always like this however. At one time, New York was the primary hop producer in the United States and exported their hops all over the world. But prohibition and the labor intensity of the harvest steered many farmers to other crops and the New York hop became a thing of the past.

For the last two years, Condzella’s Farm has devoted a piece of their land to growing hops. This has been exciting for Long Island breweries and home brewers alike, as the possibility of local, fresh hops is once again a reality in New York. Though this is a huge advance for the local craft beer community, John Condezlla (who runs the farm) is running into some of the same problems as those hop farmers who came before him. Hop harvesting is very time sensitive and labor intensive, and it is virtually physically impossible for his yearly crop to be fully harvested, even with help from farmers and brewers alike.

This is why John has started a Kickstarter for Condzella’s Hops (Farm). His goal is to raise $27,000 to purchase the Wolf WHE 140 Hopfen Pflückmaschine which, despite what the name may lead you to believe, is not Germanys version of the Terminator. It is a hop harvesting machine which will allow Condzella’s Hops to harvest an acre of hops in one working day (8 hours). For comparisons sake, this same task would take 500 hours if done by hand. In addition to using it for their own hop crop, Condzella’s Hops (Farm) wants to bring this machine to Long Island from Europe in order to encourage a resurgence of the New York hop. Therefore, the hop harvester will be available for use by any local farmers who need assistance in picking their own hops.

Craft beer on Long Island has come a long way in the last few years and this machine would have the ability to elevate it to the next level. The Kickstarter campaign has already raised almost $6,000 and runs through March 10. So if you have a little extra beer money over the next month, think about donating to a cause that will help out the entire craft beer community. Beer people helping beer people is defnitely a cause we can, and will, get behind.