We’ve never been invited to a farm to go hop picking before, so we were super excited to get an invite from the Fir Farm. The Fir Farm is a family owned Christmas Tree, Honey and Hop farm down in Colts Neck, NJ and their hop picking events make for a fun day! While manual labor doesn’t strike everyone as a good time, we can assure you if you’re a social creature it will be a blast learning about hops, plucking the cones off the bines and discussing a wide variety of random topics with your table neighbors.
As a hop harvest at the Fir Farm is a social event, you will get to meet the owners, brewers and beertenders of the breweries that these hops go to, as well as drink some of their beers! Bob and Mickey, the owners of the Fir Farm, have been growing hops since 2015 and put on such enjoyable harvest events complete with food, live music and yes – beer. Lots and lots of beer. In the (near) future, they hope to open up their own nano-brewery using their own hops, berries and honey. Unfortunately – the State of NJ still isn’t onboard with the whole craft beer industry yet and a farm brewer license like the ones offered in NY still don’t exist in this state.
The harvest event we went to was a bit unusual as the hops harvested this weekend were actually headed to a distillery in Keyport, NJ. That’s right, the extremely aromatic Chinook and Cascade hops we just picked went straight to 3BR Distillery for one of their Russian, prohibition era inspired spirits! Naturally, we had to visit 3BR Distillery after and watch the fruits (hops) of our labor splash into their tanks of Sochny; an agave nectar, hop and orange peel spirit.
While we were there, we got to sample all of their spirits which included the only pea-distilled liquor we’ve ever had. Gorovka is distilled with 100% garden peas and is a homage to their late grandfather, Oleg, who used to distill this spirit during the USSR prohibition.