Monday, April 7, 2014

Hallertau - Hops Region of Germany

The Hallartau is a region in Bavaria in between Munich and the auto-town of Ingolstadt. Here, one of the most important ingredients for great beer is grown: Hops. 

Hops is a bit huffy if the conditions aren’t to it’s liking which leaves only a handful of places in the world where it actually strives. First records of growing hops in this region date back as far as to the 8th century.  

Today more than 85% of the hops used in Germany is grown here. Two thirds of the yield is exported internationally though, which equates to a global market share of over 30%. Apparently this much hops needs a lot of space leaving the Hallertau as the largest contiguous hops growing region in the world. The region has over 2000 producers using 40,000 acres of land. The average size of each farm is about 16 acres form large producers down to small farms of just a couple of acres. One large consumer that gets it’s Hops from this region you might recognize – Amheuser-Busch.

The region is worth visiting any time of the year but we prefer to go between July and September which is the time of the hops harvest. It’s a stunning vista to walk through the hops
gardens and marvel at the plants climbing up into the sky as high as houses. The harvest itself is also worth watching and the season is accompanied by many a festival with folklore, dancing, music, hops related contests, handicraft shows and much more. Hops growing in the Hallertau region is in the hands of far more than 1000 family-owned businesses today and many of those hops farmers offer tours of their premises giving lovely insights into the hops business but also the locals’ lives.

We also enjoyed the one-off hops museum in Wolnzach  which isn’t only highly interesting and a perfect option for a rainy day but also offers tours with tastings of such rare delicatessen as hops cheese, hops bread and beer chocolate but of course also with straight forward classic beer.

Touristic information (German only):

Written by Anna-Barbara Schmidt

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