Maryland's Native Monocacy Hop Stars In Local Brewery's Latest Release

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According to Chris Leonard, Brewmaster at Heavy Seas, the hop has "spicy, herbaceous, and floral" notes. (Photo Credit: Heavy Seas Brewing)

BALTIMORE COUNTY - Heavy Seas Beer is introducing "Altimore," a new brew featuring the Monocacy hop, a unique species native to Maryland. The Baltimore County-based brewer is at the forefront of an innovative venture using this distinct hop, first discovered by Dr. Ray Edigar in the late 1960s.

For years, the Monocacy hop's Maryland lineage went unnoticed until research by the University of Maryland Extension showcased its genetic characteristics. Uniquely suited to Maryland's humid conditions, this hop boasts a one-of-a-kind chemical profile.

"From what we can tell so far, the Monocacy hop grows very well in Maryland. Our hope is to continue growing it, share it with more local brewers, while we continue testing its commercial viability," says Bryan Butler, principal agent in agriculture and natural resources with the University of Maryland Extension. "It will be critical to see if the Monocacy hop can not only thrive but excel in crafting outstanding beers."

On September 21st, the Heavy Seas crew journeyed to the Western Maryland Research & Education Center to observe the Monocacy hop harvesting. Immediately after being picked, the hops were taken to their Halethorpe brewery for processing.

The Monacy Hop is unique in its ability to thrive in Maryland's humid climate. (Photo Credit: Heavy Seas Brewing)

Chris Leonard, Brewmaster at Heavy Seas, highlighted the hop's notes as "spicy, herbaceous, and floral." For its debut, the brewer chose an Altbier, a traditional German beer, to accentuate the hop's aroma.

"Altimore" will debut on October 20th, exclusively on tap at the Heavy Seas Taproom. There's a buzz about more Monocacy-hop-infused launches in 2024, potentially reaching a broader market.

In the coming weeks, Heavy Seas anticipates receiving Monocacy hop pellets alongside additional chemical analyses for a deeper understanding of the hop's characteristics for future experimental brews.

"We're excited to see what else we can create. We plan to explore different beer styles and utilize the Monocacy hop in different stages of the production to test how it can be best employed," Leonard added.

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