Four Star Hops
We’ve been growing hops on our family farm in Western Massachusetts since 2008. With 8 varieties of aromatic and dual purpose hops grown on 17 acres (roughly 17,000 plants), we produce enough hops each season to make ~1-3 million pints of beer.
As a year-round supplier of pellets, and seasonal supplier of wet and whole leaf hops, we get to work with several breweries around New England; be sure to check out the places you can find our hops on tap.
What Makes Our Hops Special?
In a word, terroir. In its simplest definition, terroir is a “taste of place.” Regardless of which hops varieties you grow or where in the world you grow them, the things that happen to those plants in a given growing season (think rain, amount of sunshine, average temperatures, the type of soil you’re growing in, how you care for them, etc.) will all impact the flavor and aroma differently from place to place and from year to year.
Our soil, Hadley Silt Loam (which is just about perfect, thanks prehistoric lake bottom!), and growing conditions contribute so many fruity (citrus, bubble gum, berry) and nuanced flavors and aromas in our hops that can’t be found in their counterparts grown other places – allowing for some old school hops varieties to step into the forefront of new school flavor profiles (read: juicy IPAs). At the farm, Magnum aren’t just for bittering and Nugget is definitely not herbal/earthy but instead packs a citrus punch (so different in fact that instead of calling them Nugget, we have renamed them Pepite).
At harvest, we get a comprehensive analytical profile of all the things you want to know about our hops (e.g., alpha, beta, total oil, hop storage and aroma quality) because who wants to buy a new car without kicking the tires and doing their homework? For each growing season you can find the specs by variety in our online store. Want more information than what’s there? Just let us know and we’ll get you the full spec sheet.
Harvest runs from mid August through mid September, with each variety having a narrow picking window during that time. Interested in wet hops? All of our varieties are available during harvest for your wet hopping enjoyment! Any hops not sold as wet are promptly kiln dried and stored in whole leaf bales until we’re ready to process them into T-90 pellets here at the farm.
You’ll Never Find a Warmer, Kinder Group to Work With
I’ve been working with the wonderful L’Etoile family of Four Star Farms for over 10 years, first as a brewer for Berkshire Brewing Co, when the hop growing operation was in its adolescence, and as a brewery owner since 2015 when I started Brick & Feather.
Anyone who knows Gene, Liz, Nate & family will agree that you’ll never find a warmer, kinder group of people to work with. From their fantastic hospitality on “Brewer Days,” and other events, to the lengths they will go to trying to keep their brewers happy, it is truly a delight to enjoy a professional and personal relationship with Four Star. Indeed, they are literally our neighbor the next town over, but I also suspect that they treat a brewery 1000 miles away with the same sincerity and enthusiasm.
It has been fascinating to follow the progress on the farm, from those first few acres all the way to the current operation, and all the ingenuity (and sweat!) required to get them there.
The Quality and Consistency of Their Hops is Fantastic
My experience with Four Star Hops has been truly exciting and illuminating. The quality and consistency of all their hop varieties is always fantastic. This has allowed me to explore and push the envelope with what locally grown hops can be to a quality craft brew. We are a farm brewery that features locally sourced and produced ingredients in our beers, and Four Star Hops has been a vital part in our development and success.