A CSU professor thinks he's found a way to revolutionize the beer industry.
Dr. Bill Bauerle gave up his career of analyzing plant growth to focus solely on growing hops in a greenhouse on campus.
The idea is to grow hops with LED lights and optimize the compounds that give beer its flavor.
“They have a lot higher concentration of alpha acids that causes the bitterness of beer and that's what brewers are looking for,” Bauerle said.
The LED lights allow Bauerle to control light wavelengths, which is important as hops are very sensitive to how much light exposure they need. It also allows the bulbs to get closer to the plants so they can soak up as much of the light as possible.
“We can hand-pick them and that can also increase the quality 20 to 30 percent,” he said.
Growing hops in greenhouses is something that's never been done before.
“Yeah it’s pretty wild,” said Odell brewer Scott Dorsch, laughing.
Dorsch likes the direction but knows there are some hurdles to hop over.
“In a greenhouse environment like that it kind of exacerbates the problems if you get disease,” he said.
He was also wary of cost measure but Bauerle says the ability to dim lights and grow hops in a higher concentration ensures cost-saving measures.
“If there was a new supply of hops coming out perhaps that could solve short term problems,” Odell Brewing owner Doug Odell said.
Odell Brewing has been in talks with Bauerle about his project, as well as New Belgium and Coors.
Bauerle says seven vice presidents from the company have visited him because of the idea.
A brewery in Fort Collins will tap the first keg made from these hops on Monday.