For beer production, only the unfertilized umbels of the female hop plant are used.
HopfenBierGut – Museum
im Kornhaus Spalt
The Spalter hops growing area coincides for the most part with the "Spalter Hügelland". It extends from the Middle Franconian Basin to the Jura heights near Greding. In this area, family farms predominate. Climate and soil in the Spalter region are particularly suitable for aroma hop cultivation. The precipitation conditions with 650 mm of rain and the sunshine duration of up to 1700 hours a year play a special role. They give the Spalter hops a particularly noble aroma.
The variety "Spalt - Spalter" with the best aroma properties is still in great demand today among brewers for the production of quality beers. Even today, about 90% of the hop area is planted with aroma and high aroma varieties. The climate and soil of the region around Spalt play a special role in this. Following the interest of the brewers, new varieties are also being tested.
Currently, the following varieties are grown in Spalt:
Noble aroma varieties: Spalter, Select, Hallertauer Mittelfrüh, Sapphire
Aroma varieties: Tradition, Pearl, Hersbrucker Spät, Opal, Emerald
Special aroma varieties: Cascade, Blanc
Bitter varieties: Hercules, Mercury, Magnum.
The hop harvest is a highly demanding activity. The umbels have to be carefully picked from the vines and they must not break or contain too much leaf and stem content. For a long time this was purely manual work and helping seasonal workers were guests in Spalt at the end of August for the hop harvest. With the purchase of modern harvesting machines, this historic era came to an end. Even I, who am writing these lines, can still remember my first pocket money as a harvest helper.
Franconia is home to the oldest hop-growing region in the world. Hop cultivation around Spalt was already mentioned in a document around the year 1341. At the beginning of the 19th century, our region was even the largest hop-growing region in Germany. The Spalter hops seal first mentioned in 1538 is intended to protect the quality, origin and grade of the Spalter hops. It was punishable to steal or export hop plants. The Spalter hops seal served as a model for other growing areas: they introduced their own seals.
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