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Brewing trainees go hop-picking

f.l. Hop farmer Evi Rieger with Trainees Felix Färber, Erik Boden, Tobias Zollo (first master brewer), Nina Mandl, Karl Schäftlmeier, Steffen Rieger and Saad Abdallah.

Last week the trainees at the Bavarian State Brewery Weihenstephan gained practical hands-on experience as part of their brewing and malting degree course when they embarked on hop-picking. The six trainee brewers and maltsters joined first master brewer Tobias Zollo and set off for the nearby Hallertau region to find out about hop harvesting first-hand at the Rieger family’s hop farm in Pfettrach/Attenkirchen.

Once the trainees arrived, Evi and Gerhard Rieger, whose family business has supplied the Bavarian State Brewery Weihenstephan with hops for over fifty years, gave them a wealth of theoretical and practical knowledge about hops and hop harvesting. Of course the trainees were allowed to try the work for themselves and help out at each point of the process, from loading the vines into the picking machine and filling the kiln to pressing the hops – packing the picked and dried hops into bags.

„Helping with the hop harvest is not automatically a part of every training, but we believe it’s important for our trainees to broaden their horizons and see exactly where our raw materials come from and how they’re processed“, explains Tobias Zollo, first master brewer at the Weihenstephan Brewery.

After working in the hop fields and at the farm for eight hours, the trainees were exhausted – but had learnt many valuable lessons.

„It was really interesting to be part of the hop harvest, and to tackle the very varied range of tasks ourselves.“, sums up second-year trainee Karl Schäftlmeier.