It’s harvest time in the unique hop-garden of VMU Botanical Garden! On a sunny September day, local brewers and enthusiasts joined the team of professional scholars to celebrate that and prove this culture suits perfectly well in the Lithuanian climate and soil. It means brewers can easily use local produce instead of purchasing hops from foreign countries.
The hop growing culture in Lithuania dates back to at least 1529. On this year, it was published in the first statute of Lithuanian Grand Dutchy that those destroying hop-gardens would be facing significant fines. In the past years, the regular mood was that there is no hop culture in our country – but the scholars at VMU Botanical Garden have proved the sceptics are wrong.
The brewers that joined the harvest ceremony (the tradition is relatively new – it started a few years ago) add that the current hop mood is getting better and better – more and more private farmers try harvesting this culture. Dundulis, a well-known craft drink brand, used 10 tonnes of hop cones to produce two tonnes of a truly Lithuanian drink. Another team of enthusiasts based in Kaunas, Jurgis Kudlinskas and Jonas Gritė, took part in the harvest ceremony last year – their prey was enough for a full year, a total of 330 litres was brewed.
The scientific collection of Humulus lupulus L. in VMU Botanical Garden is unique in the Baltic states and consists of 30 species. There are five species created right there in Kaunas by dr. Stasys Gudanavičius – ˈFredos derlingiejiˈ, ˈFredos tauriejiˈ, ˈKauno ankstyviejiˈ, ˈKauno gražiejiˈ and ˈRaudoniaiˈ. These ones suit perfectly well for the Lithuanian climate. Youn can even purchase some for your hop-garden right there in the shop! Alternatively, you can wait a month or so and visit one of the craft beer pubs in Kaunas. Vingiu Dubingiu or Genys Taproom, perhaps?
Photos by VMU Botanical Garden