2018-06-14 / Front Page

Home Brewing Secrets Shared

By James Merolla


Harvesting hops when they are fully ripe is critical for brewing a good beer. (Photo courtesy of Ocean State Hops) Harvesting hops when they are fully ripe is critical for brewing a good beer. (Photo courtesy of Ocean State Hops) Sanne Kure-Jensen raises hopes for amateur beer brewers who want to raise hops. The Danish native and Portsmouth resident has brewed her own beer and made her own mead for more than a decade, along with raising bees, organic produce and a variety of horticulture that she teaches, demonstrates and writes about.

Kure-Jensen will be at the Newport Public Library on Tuesday, June 19 at 6:30 p.m. to give a free presentation on home-brewing techniques, and growing hops in southern New England. Enthusiasts will hear about cultivating, harvesting and drying hops, lagers versus ales, along with tips for success and mistakes to avoid.

Kure-Jensen’s brewing and gardening activities are truly a family affair. “My husband and I brew together,” she said. “My children grew up helping us garden. I taught them to cook and preserve our veggies by drying, freezing and canning sauces and jams. They also helped us brew. My grown daughter brews at her home in California.”


Hops on the stem. BOTTOM: Controlling fermentation temperature allows yeast to reach optimal levels. Hops on the stem. BOTTOM: Controlling fermentation temperature allows yeast to reach optimal levels. Kure-Jensen will speak about three R.I. growers, Ocean State Hops, Greenvale Vineyards and Green Animals Topiary Gardens, and the many uses for hops besides flavoring beer. The work- shop will cover required brewing equipment, ingredients and sanitation. Attendees will learn how to bottle and pour a home brew.

Kure-Jensen often visits these three sites and is friends with the owners and staff. At Ocean State Hops, she helped pick hops on the farm, brewed beer, and wrote a feature on the company. At Greenvale Vineyards, she was a Northeast Organic Farming Association Organic Farm Advisor to owner Bill Wilson. She has also brewed beer with the hops from Portsmouth’s Green Animals Topiary Gardens.

These are not the only hops she uses in her work. “We brew hoppy IPAs [India Pale Ales] at the end of summer when local hops are available,” she said. “We dry some hops for later use and we also order hops from online sources for year-round brewing.”

Kure-Jensen was taught to brew beer and make mead by a neighbor who was a long-time brewer. Now, she passes the tradition on. The craft beer market and IPAs, which spread like wildfire two decades ago, along with the mead market, are still popular, although cresting.

“The number of and community capacity to support local craft breweries may be close to peak,” she said. “Many breweries are still expanding. A few have closed, [yet] the number of meaderies continues to grow.”

She said the most important part of the home brewing process is good hygiene and sanitation equipment and finding the proper temperature.

When asked if there were any drawbacks to her talk, she said, “Only one. No beer samples will be shared.”

Free and open to the public. Registration requested. For more information, www.newportlibraryri.org or 401-847-8720, x208.

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