Guest Speakers and Schedule

Madison County Hop Fest 2019 weekend is September 13-15- a celebration of the past, present and prosperous future of the hop industry in Madison County and throughout New York State.  At the 24th Annual Madison County Hop Fest there will be: programs about hop culture in NYS; home brewing demonstrations; exhibits on the history of hops; exhibitor booths from hop suppliers, hop farmers, beer clubs; paired beer dinner; Taste of Hops: a food and beer pairing; sampling of craft beer; crowning of our 2019 Hop King, Rick Pedersen; and a heritage hop tour on Sunday where visitors journey for a behind the scenes tour of hop houses, related hop heritage sites, and production sites.  Proceeds from the Hop Fest support the educational programming at the Madison County Historical Society. We appreciate your support in our efforts to share New York State's hop culture. The Madison County Hop Fest is made possible from the generous support from The Gorman Foundation, White’s Farm Supply, Oneida Dental Group, Liberty Tabletop, Community Bank, Foothill Hops Farm Brewery, and Hale Transportation.

On Friday, September 13 at 6 pm with a Paired Beer Dinner at HipStir Cafe in Oneida. Each course will be paired with Critz Farms Brewing and Cider Company.

Kick off Madison County Hop Fest Weekend right by joining us on Friday, September 13 at 6 pm with a Paired Beer Dinner at HipStir Café in Oneida. Executive Chef, Jennifer Di Giorgio, an accomplished chef graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, has curated an exceptional meal has been exquisitely paired with craft beers and cider from Critz Farms Brewing and Cider Co. of Cazenovia. Tickets can be purchased online at, or at HipStir Café. Proceeds from ticket sales benefit the educational programming at the Madison County Historical Society.


1st Course

Sea bass with roasted baby fennel, apple sauce, fish skin brittle and beer caramel layered pastry

paired with Critz Farms Heritage Hop Cider- extra dry cider aged on Madison County hops (Cascade, Willamette and Columbia) lending a delicate hop aroma of earth and citrus against a delicate sour apple character.  This pairing should balance the rich sea bass and complement the fennel applesauce spice and sweetness nicely

2nd Course

Butter poach radish, sweet Vidalia onion, beet greens salad with hazelnut coffee vinaigrette paired with Critz Farms Double Vision - a blend of sweet cider and aged hard cider has a delightful sweetness and great apple flavor, the sweetness and apple will contrast the bitterness of the radish and greens, providing a palate cleanse between bites.

3rd Course

Korean apple butter BBQ rib sesame glazed lotus chips and kimchi paired with

Critz Farms Roasted Pumpkin Ale - Critz Farms grown Neon pumpkins are roasted, spiced and added into the beer during the brewing process.  The delicate vanilla, cinnamon and clove spicing of the Roasted Pumpkin Ale will complement the sweetness of the apple butter BBQ rib while providing a contrast to the tart kimchi.

4th Course

Pumpkin and mushroom “rags” pea orange purée pumpkin seeds and walnut paste cranberry maple drip paired with Critz Farms Pig City Porter - Our fusion of American and English porter styles, prominent with chocolate and caramel malts, a delicate roast and a full body. This pairing complements the pumpkin and mushroom sweet and umami flavors along with the roast and caramel undertones balancing the cranberry maple sweetness

5th Course

Honey cornmeal cake persimmon meringue mousse dehydrated beer sugar paired with

Critz Farms Honey Blonde -blonde ale with malt-derived honey flavor is the perfect complement to a honey cornmeal cake, the sweet honey aroma of the and crisp, slightly dry character will help balance against the sweetness of the dessert while complementing the flavors.


The event continues on Saturday, September 14 on the grounds of the Madison County Historical Society  at 10 am featuring: guest speakers presenting programs on hop culture along with hop experts sharing their knowledge on brewing and growing hops.

September 14, 2019 Hop Fest Programs and Schedule

The Madison County Hop Fest was created to raise awareness of the history and influence of hop culture, as well as for a fund-raiser for the county museum. By the mid-1840s New York had become the nation’s leading producer of hops, a position it occupied unrivaled for over fifty years. The tenth census of the United States indicated that New York was producing over 21 million pounds, or over 80 percent of the total crop of the country. By 1819 the production of hops in Madison County had reached such a level that, in response to the demands of growers, the New York legislature passed a law calling for the compulsory inspection and grading of hops. Hop production had a profound economic impact on the regions in which it was cultivated. (Tomlan, 1992)

Three hop heritage authorities, who have all been crowned Hop King at previous Madison County Hop Fests, and who have been supporters of the Hop Fest since its beginning twenty-four years ago, will return to the heritage programs with updates and expanded information. The presentations will be held Saturday, September 14 at Cottage Lawn, the home of the Madison County Historical Society at 435 Main Street inside of  the Carriage Barn, the first site on the Madison County Hop Heritage tour.


10:00 am Agricultural Barn

With the opening of the Madison County Hop Fest, Al Bullard will take his post in the Carriage Barn at the Bittersweet: Hop Culture in Central New York exhibit. Bullard, the author of The Hop Farmer’s Year: the Seasons, Tools & Methods of Hop Growers in New York State’s Golden Age of Hops, will be available to answer questions on the exhibit, demonstrate tools from his own collection, and help visitors identify tools that they bring to the Fest. Bullard earned his B.S. in history from Lebanon Valley College, and his M.A. in Folklife Studies and Museum Management from the Cooperstown Graduate Program of the State University of New York at Oneonta. His interest in hops began in graduate school and since then he has collected the stories, tools and artifacts of New York’s hop heritage. He has curated and contributed artifacts to various museum exhibits, most notably the five year exhibit When Hops Were King at the Farmers’ Museum in Cooperstown. He has written extensively on the subject, and has given lectures and participated in seminars and hop festivals. He is a retired teacher from Cooperstown Central School. Bullard was crowned Madison County Hop King in 2002.

11:30 am Crowning of Hop King 2019 outside of the Taste of Hops Tent. Come see the title of Hop King 2019 bestowed upon Rick Pedersen - First commercial hop grower in NYS, NeHA founding member, active veteran hops grower with 20 acres of hops, conference presenter, and leading advocate for hops research.

12:00 pm- 2:00 pm Taste of Hops Tent.  Taste of Hops: a food and beer pairing where area restaurants/caterers create an appetizer/dessert using craft beer as one of the main ingredients and then pair said appetizer/dessert with a craft beer. Each year the restaurants/caterers partake in a friendly competition vying for a variety of titles at the Taste of Hops judged by the public who sample their exquisite fare. Participants must be 21+ years of age to sample the craft beer. Attendees receive a complimentary 5 oz. glass.

2:00 pm- 5:30 pm Craft Beer Sampling Tent. Sample craft beer from over 30 craft breweries. Come enjoy craft beer and hard cider. Representatives will be on hand to answer all your beer questions. Participants must be 21+ years of age to sample the craft beer. 

 2:15 pm Agricultural Barn Al Bullard will present Hop Equipment Manufactured in Central New York. Bullard will identify tools and equipment from specific manufacturing locations in Madison, Oneida, Otsego, and Schoharie counties and also show newly found tools. Visitors are encouraged to bring tools for Bullard’s identification.

3:15 Agricultural Barn Michael A. Tomlan PhD, author of Tinged with Gold: Hop Culture in the United States (1992) will explain, Why Did the Hop Industry Move to the West? Tomlan’s research for his publication follows the USA hop industry from early days in Massachusetts, to the robust agricultural industry in New York State, and onward to the west. Hop farming artifacts were left behind which help to identify the growth of the industry. Madison County has, perhaps, the largest collection of 19th and 20th C. hop houses.

Tomlan directs the graduate program in historic preservation planning at Cornell University. He teaches classes that deal with documentation techniques, fieldwork, preservation practice and urban change, the relationships between museums and the public, and preservation, planning, and religion. Tomlan is also the director of graduate studies in real estate.  Tomlan served as chair of the Senior Board of Advisers to the Global Heritage Fund (Palo Alto, California), reviewing nominations for and the management of conservation projects in Asia, the Middle East, and Central and South America. He has consulted on projects abroad for the World Monuments Fund and the J. Paul Getty Trust. Additionally, Tomlan is current chair of the board of Yosothor, based in Cambodia; serves as a project director for the National Council for Preservation Education; and president of Historic Urban Plans, Inc., in Ithaca, New York. Tomlan was crowned the third Madison County Hop King in 1998.

3:45 Agricultural Barn Carl Stearns, the 2000 Madison County Hop King, will present an image -loaded PowerPoint; Relocating 19th C. Hop Houses. Madison County has lost some of its oldest hop houses to the sale and move of the special structures. As a preservation architect Stearns has traveled thru out the state on country roads locating many rural structures. Stearns is a well known in Central New York as a zealous preservation architect and has been involved in many organizations such as Preservation Association of New York State, the Adirondack Architectural Heritage, the NYS Barn Coalition, and the Arts and Crafts Society of CNY. Stearns, a retired partner of Crawford and Stearns Preservation Architects, was the Chair of the Madison County Bicentennial Architecture and Preservation Committee.  Carl received an award from the NYS Barn Coalition for his rural preservation. He has moved a forgotten hop house along NYS 20 to his own property, and has been involved in other relocation projects. Stearns will also be a guide on the Madison County Hop Fest Tour the next day.  Hop heritage programs will continue on Sunday, September 15 with a 9 am – 5 pm Madison County tour of hop houses, hop production sites, and lunch.

Throughout the afternoon there will be exhibits on the history of hops, raffle drawings of beer related merchandise, Hop Shop filled with Norm Dann’s hop plants and hop sterling jewelry, hop-related items.  NeHA, Hop Exchange, Foothill Hops and Great Lake Brewing News  will be on site all afternoon. Brake from the Grind Food Truck will be on the grounds all day with their farm to table menu plus specials.