UdeM embarks on hops production to make hyper-local beer

This spring, as part of a sustainable development project, a tiny hops garden has enriched the facilities of the Université de Montréal. It is planted on a paved parking lot and brings a bit of freshness to the campus. The hops garden is grown in ten water reservoir tanks connected by pergolas on which the plants are allowed to grow.


In a previous sustainable development project, buckwheat was also planted in gardens on UdeM grounds to produce malt for brewing beer. Talks to determine where and by whom the beer will be brewed are still ongoing, but UdeM's hops and buckwheat are indeed slated to be turned into the golden suds.

"We already produce vegetables, mushrooms, shrubs, honey, honey wine, we collected water from our maple trees in March... So, we wanted to be more innovative in our urban agriculture activities," says Stéphane Beranger, Sustainable Development Coordinator at UdeM.

“I’m a big fan of beer, so I had the idea of growing hops on UdeM grounds," says Alexandre Beaudoin, Biodiversity Advisor for the university. “|In Quebec, craft breweries have multiplied over the past 20 years, but surprisingly, only more than 1% of the hops used is produced in Quebec. The same goes for barley, which is very little grown in the belle province, this is why we have chosen buckwheat.” 

Hops is also a native species well adapted to the Quebec climate. “It is a climbing plant that grows quickly and smells nice, says Beaudoin. “At maturity, it will cover a small passageway to be used by members of the UdeM community.”

And does the rector of the UdeM, Guy Breton, welcome the new initiative? “Brewing beer is chemical... and scientific!” exclaims Breton. “And now, it will even be environmental. What more can you ask for?”

The sustainable development project was made possible thanks to the support of the Association québécoise pour la promotion de l'éducation relative à l'environnement (AQPERE), the Forum Jeunesse de l'île de Montréal (FJÎM), and the Conférence régionale des élus (CRÉ) de Montréal as part of the programme Communautés collégiales et universitaires pour des campus écodurables.

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Julie Gazaille
Press Attaché, Université de Montréal
514 343-6796