A scientist and a brewmaster in Nova Scotia are teaming up to try and create a disease-resistant variety of hops to craft healthier crops.
Mildew can be a real problem for hop growers in the Maritimes.
Hans Christian Jost, owner of Tatamagouche Brewing Company, went to Oregon with Dr. Sean Myles, a Dalhousie University professor of agriculture and the Canada Research Chair in Agricultural Genetic Diversity.
"Our humid climate makes growing hops challenging because of disease pressure from mildew. With these new mildew-resistant hop varieties, we'll have our own unique East Coast hops that require less chemical input to grow," Myles said in a media release.
The two collected pollen from mildew-resistant hops held by the United States Department of Agriculture. They brought it back to Nova Scotia to pollinate female hop plants grown by the company.
They'll collect the seeds in the fall, and grow another crop from that. Each generation will be studied for its mildew resistance and suitability for beer-making.
If all goes well, they'll have a successful version within a decade they hope will appeal to craft breweries across the East Coast.
"The Nova Scotia craft beer industry is experiencing explosive growth. Breeding our own unique hops will help us make beers that have a distinct local flavour, unavailable anywhere else in the world," Jost said.