last thoughts on the 2015 Nebraska Hops Cup

January 27, 2015

Lovehops Farm had a great time at the Nebraska Hops Cup…and want to say thanks to all the fam who were able to attend and show what love:hops is all about.



We’re also beyond fortunate to count among our (few?) friends the good people of Scratchtown Brewing Company from Ord, NE (pop. 2100).   Based purely on quality (not that anyone does that much), Scratchtown’s rightful place is among the Midwest’s best craft breweries, standing alongside--and in most cases well in front of--the exceptional brews offered to matured palettes in Minneapolis, Chicago, and Denver.


For all that, Scratchtown bummerly came in second at the NE Hops Cup with its Clever Pun Rye Black IPA…by one lonely vote.   The official Hops Cup bylaws allow the electorate to pay a dollar for each additional vote they wish to cast.   As such, a Kochish benefactor of Upstream Brewing Company (Omaha, pop. 435,000) legally dropped a hondo-dollar-bill into Upstream’s voting box, providing a dandy 100 automatic votes.  Without that, Scratchtown would have won swiftly by 99.  So if it makes sense to brag about having wealthy friends, then I guess Upstream earned its bragging rights this year.  (Ba-dum and hoo-whaaa!  I have no right giving crap to skillful and enterprising people I do not know…apologies, Upstream.) 


Here’s why you should call this sour grapes.  Scratchtown’s #2 brew included a handful of hops from the eternal acres of Lovehops Farm.  Can’t deny it:  how great it would have been to say we contributed to the state’s #1 brew!  Then again, insinuating that the quality of Scratchtown’s offering had anything to do with our harvest would be like saying the brand of flour in grandma’s cookies is what makes them special.  We’re not drunk enough (yet) to be self-righteous about our role as a fledgling hops grower.


Here’s why the grapes are sweet:  Scratchtown’s skills have evolved beyond expertise and into the realm of intuition, improv, and “becoming”.  We’re talkin’ jazz, not engineering.  And that’s what the world needs:  more innovators and entrepreneurs, fewer PAC committees and bureaucrats.   The “literature” on creativity claims that innovation flourishes in cities, where there are lots of disparate ideas that can bang into one another and create something new.  What the urban experts fully do not understand is the freedom from groupthink, license to take risks, incubating qualities of solitude, and sheer purposefulness that comes from living in a small community, where one’s contribution is noticeable and can change the overall trajectory.  Mastery, purpose and autonomy are the true motivators of humanity’s best work.  Scratchtown is among several entrepreneurs who have converged in Ord to create, celebrate and participate in a small-scale, make-your-own-fun version of modern life that also happens to be conveniently located near nature.   We deeply honor this at Lovehops Farm and recognize in it a set of values we were taught and hope to pass forward ourselves. 


So yeah, it sucks to see your artist friends screwed over by a totally legal $100 bill.  But it’s fun all the same when your fam shows up



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