You might guess from the book groups we run at Remnant and Aeronaut Brewing that we are fond of hops, and you would be right! But would you have guessed that New England was once the center of hops production in the U.S., and that a Ten Hills resident revolutionized the processing of harvested hops?
Samuel Jaques, an avid plant and livestock breeder known for his luscious peach variety (Jaques Admirable) and dairy cattle breed (Jaques Cream Pot, famous for its rich milk) bought the Ten Hills estate in the early 1830s. He improved the standards for picking and packing hops, and on the advice of a visiting Scottish brewer, changed the drying process from a wood-fired kiln that produced hops “brown as a leg of bacon, and about as much smoked” to a charcoal-fired kiln that yielded a much cleaner, hoppier-tasting harvest. Jaques was the first Inspector General of Hops for the state of Massachusetts, holding the office from 1806 to 1842.
Next time you enjoy a pint at one of Somerville's excellent taprooms or pubs, toast Samuel Jaques for excellent hops!