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SW Wild Hops - Neomexicanus Use

I just finished reading a report by the USDA and Oregon State University on the wild hops of the southwest. The report has identified with GPS coordinates the locations of the wild hops - neomexicanus strain. The report is about 13 years old, but I am familiar with some of the locations. Three are on a few hours from my home. So… I’m going to check out two of the sites near Mt Graham, AZ.
I realize that the plants will just be coming back after the winter. So my goal now is to locate these wild hop plants. The GPS coordinates show them on the eastern slopes, so they should just be popping out of their winter beds under the spring sunshine and recent rains/snow at the elevations these will be located. I also need to determine if its private property or USFS managed lands and rules on harvesting. Then I could return July - September for harvest.
BUT, before I do that I was wondering if anyone has any experience with the wild hops variety neomexicanus? Any idea of flavors, aromas, bitterness %, etc.? Any recipes? Drying methods?

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I’ve been growing one variety called Amalia, supposedly from Amalia, NM, here in New York. It is an aggressive grower and yields well. This particular variety has long cylindrical cones with thinner brachioles. It has a heavy herbal and a lemony flavor and aroma a bit more in the background. Based on brewing experience, I estimate the AA% to be only around 3. Drying is the same. You have to realize that there are many varieties of neomexicanus which means they could have very different flavors and aromas. Some might not be pleasant. There is no real commonality. There are even many different varieties of Amalia hops. I believe there are two sisters in this area that are working to classify and cultivate the hops they are finding on their land, and some commercial breweries are playing around with these hops. You’ll have to experiment.

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Where did you get yours?

I wonder about making a tea… some sweetness to it so the hop doesnt beat up your tongue… Sneezles61

Just make tea and taste

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Wouldn’t the soil they’re grown in also have an impact on their flavor and aroma? You’re NM hops grown in potting soil in NY are probably different from wild ones in NM, right? Due to soil pH and organic breakdown as well as available water?

Yes. The surviving ones here in AZ grow at higher elevations above 2,000 ft. Most of the areas are mountainous along creeks or washes. According to the report’s findings even what slope (east or west) made a difference in cone size, etc. I’ve read that some of the ‘wild’ cultivated NM hops are nice lemon, citrus tones from the forum and other references. Having never tried it I can’t say. Looking forward to seeing & tasting the AZ wild hops.
The areas near me and familiar are great hiking and camping areas. So I’ll do an overnight by the campfire and hike out foraging for wild hop plants. I’ll mark them with my GPS and check on them in August-September. That way I can also hit the Apple orchard.

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I got a few rhizomes off ebay 5 years ago.

Absolutely!

Anyone use Medusa?

Isn’t Medusa one of the cultivated wild hops?

I’ve yet to try Medusa although I’m sitting on a pound of them. Curious as to what they may impart as well as the new Zappa’s.

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Yes it is neomexicanus hops. They grow with a double head or cone. I’d like to source some. I don’t think Zappa is available to the general public

I got a pound of Zappa as soon as they were released from YVH

YVH has Medusa. $30/lb. Sounds interesting…

Nice write up there… Sneezles61

Well, I finally made it up to Mt Graham to search for some of the wild hops in that region. I started out with a plan to hike into Pitchfork canyon and around Heliograph peak. The area was still pretty damaged from the 2017 Frye fire. The trail was in very bad shape with downed trees, etc. I hiked back in about 1.5 miles and the damage was significant. This is bear country and I found myself in a thicket of berries (bear food) and downed burned trees, rock slides, etc. from the recent rains. I found what I thought to be a hops plant and am trying to ID it with iNaturalists.
All in all the area may need another 5 years or so to recover. So I’ll try again in the future. Next stop is Mt Lemmon searching for the wild AZ hops.

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Wow, sad to see the after math… But perhaps from the ashes a new forest will appear! Sneezles61

I hiked the Backcountry in Yellowstone a few years after the fire there it was beautiful.

So devastating to see. Fire is supposedly part of the natural cycle of forests. If Flars were with us I’m sure he could educate us further.

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