MILANVILLE—Debuted in grand fashion to the general public with their Hoptoberfest gathering held October 14, Second District Vineyard and Hops Farm brings new life to the old home of Calkins Creek Vineyard.
Purchased by John Longacre roughly a year ago, the hop farm looks to establish farm-fresh beer-making ingredients for the Second District Brewing Company, located in south Philadelphia.
According to their website, the thriving brewery and restaurant has nine distinct brews on tap and an assortment of bar food for hungry patrons.
Since its purchase, the hop farm has devoted two acres to growing its first batch of hops plants which will take at least three years to reach full maturity, explained farm caretaker Scott Kurtain.
Planted in the field are eight different varieties of hop plant, each offering a different flavor pallet to the beers of which they will ultimately become a part.
“There's pretty much endless varieties of hops,” said Kurtain. “There are certain hops that are used for bittering of the beer and there are certain hops that are used for aroma.”
Kurtain said he is looking forward to the third or fourth year when the plants will reach their fullest bloom on the trellis ropes.
“Growing hops is not an easy thing,” he stated, “it takes trying to control pests, control weeds, making sure they have the proper nutrients and the right amount of water. It's all a delicate balancing act.”
Though growing hops is the main function of the farm, it also houses a small vineyard, a small chicken coop, a berry patch, vegetable garden and orchard.
“Everything here is ultimately going to be feeding the restaurant down in Philly,” said Kurtain.
He explained the hope is to expand the production capabilities to support Second District Brewing Company and its Philadelphia affiliates American Sardine Bar, South Philadelphia Tap Room, and Brew – a craft beer/gourmet coffee shop – with as much home-grown materials as possible.
Aside from industrious use of the land, Second District Vineyard and Hop Farm has also been making use of its ample space and rustic tasting room to host weddings and other events on the property.
“It's a huge thing that we're really trying to push for next year,” stated, Second District's wedding and event coordinator, as well as secondary farm caretaker.
The hop farm and vineyard hosted its first wedding early in October and the success of its Hoptoberfest celebration show promising use of the space as a gathering place.
The tasting room hall holds roughly 75 occupants, said Fisher.
With 68 acres of land in total, the grounds themselves hold other potential party nooks as well, including a serene little grove full of Adirondack chairs and large strip once used as an airplane runway.
Those interested in booking the space can do so by emailing Fisher at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The possibilities for the hop farm and vineyard will likely continue to grow as Second District finds new uses for the property.
The potential exists for more engagement with the local beer aficionados as well with Second District sponsored events similar to Hoptoberfest.
“There's a really big beer community here in Honesdale … so we're hoping to kinda tap into that,” said Kurtain.
Those interested can check in with Second District Vineyard and Hops Farm on Facebook.
Second District Brewing Company can be found online at www.seconddistrictbrewing.com.