closeup of hops Linda Geist
NEW BREW: University of Missouri Extension horticulturists grew hops at MU's Bradford Research Center this year. Hops are used by brewers to give unique flavors and aromas to beer.

Hop harvest at MU's Bradford Research Center

The public is invited to smell and see research on hops on Sept. 13.

What's brewing at the University of Missouri's Bradford Research Center? Well, nothing just yet, but the public is invited to see and smell this year's research on hops as harvest approaches.

MU Extension horticulturist James Quinn invites the public to the last of three free hops field days, from 3 to 6 p.m. Sept. 13.

Quinn says attendees will learn about MU’s first-year hops research. They will get to see and smell hops from different cultivars that Quinn harvested by hand and dried.

Linda Geist

SHARING INFORMATION: University of Missouri Extension horticulturist Jim Quinn harvested hops at MU's Bradford Research Center. At the last hops field day this year, Sept. 13, attendees will hear what researchers learned about growing hops in Missouri.

Hop plants are climbing bines (vines without tendrils). The flower of the hop plant is a papery-thin, pale green cone that is used to add unique flavors and aromas to most beers, especially small craft brews. The bitterness of hops balances the sweetness of beer’s malt sugars. They also are a natural preservative, extending the life of the brew.

Those of legal age will have an opportunity to taste some of Missouri’s craft brews during "Hoppy Hour."

MU Extension received a specialty crop grant from the Missouri Department of Agriculture to research what types of hops grow best in Missouri. Quinn and another MU Extension horticulturist, Patrick Byers, planted more than 10 varieties of hops on the quarter-acre hops yard at Bradford. The perennial plants can produce for more than 40 years.

Hop cones dry in late summer and develop a strong odor. Most home brewers harvest the hops by hand; larger growers use specialized machinery.

Locally grown hops are a trendy favorite of many in the “grow local” movement. According to a USDA report released at the end of 2016, hop acreage in the U.S. grew 72% over the past five years. Universities across the U.S. are conducting research to help this new wave of growers.

For more information, contact Quinn at 573-634-2824 or at [email protected].

MU Bradford Research Center is several miles east of Columbia at 4968 Rangeline Road. For driving directions, visit or call 573-884-7945.

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