Fresh or Dried Hops? Which is best?
On Castle Farm, we have been growing Hops for over 250 years… so you could say we are experts! Throughout history, we have produced Hops specifically for use in brewing beer, however, now our Hops are purely grown for interior decoration.
But what is a Hop Bine?! Hop Bines are lovely 3 metre long garlands of foliage and green ‘flowers’. They are grown in our Kent Hop Gardens and traditionally hung every year to bring luck!
How can Hops be used? Our Hop Bines are used as decoration inside homes, across beams, above pub bars or in wedding marquees and barns… plus on film sets by production companies or in theatre sets.
Hops are versatile, great value, and hold dramatic impact all year round!
Do I buy Fresh or Dried Hops?
If you can, use Fresh Hop Bines. They are easy to hang and very flexible so you can drape and twine them prettily. However, they are ONLY available from mid-August until mid/late September. Get in quick and order before the season is over. All fresh Hop Bines are cut, packed and despatched on the same day overnight – ensuring they get to you in prime condition.
At any other time of year, order our Dried Hop Bines, which (during September) are expertly fast-dried in specialist hot air kilns to keep their colour and shape so they can be used all year round. Once dried we pack them in to boxes and store them in humidity controlled environment until we despatch on 24 hour service.
Why are we the experts in growing Hops for decoration?
To achieve top decorative quality, our Hops are grown at extra-wide spacing to encourage flowering along the full length of the bine. This means that they are bigger, fuller bines and more consistent in their flowering than hops produced from closely-spaced brewing hops which are always competing for sunlight.
We only grow two specific varieties (Phoenix and Wye Challenger) which are best for decoration – with large green flowers and even flowering patterns.
Every Bine is hand cut one it reaches full growth in August & September
How do I put up a Hop Bine?
A Hop Bine is composed of two or three stems that have grown and twisted up a long central string.
Fresh Hop Bines are supple and can be easily draped and twined into position and left to dry out naturally. Hanging the cut bines is easy – simply hook the stems or string over a nail. We recommend you hang the bines in position on the day you receive them – do not leave them in the box.
Dried Hop Bines can, inevitably, be quite brittle to handle. We strongly recommend that the boxes are opened and left in a damp atmosphere such as a shed, cellar or garage (not outside) overnight before they are handled. Damp air will be absorbed into the flowers and foliage, softening them and making them easier to unpack and display. An alternative is to use a fine mist spray.
Hops should always be hung in a position where they will not be knocked by people or disturbed by draughts as the flowers may disintegrate if damaged. The greenness of the flowers will be retained longer if the hops are not exposed to direct sunlight.