Brewing is THE RAGE in San Diego County. At last count, there were 110 craft breweries and more in the planning stages. Many of these new microbreweries evolved from thousands of home brewers who make beer in their garages or on back patios.
Beer recipes start with a few basic ingredients: water, grain, yeast, and hops. Everything else is a variation on the theme.
At the same time, a market for local hops is slowly developing around the local brewing community. It’s making some people wonder if Southern California will soon emulate the early 1900s, when northern California was the country’s largest hops producer.
In this episode, we explore the process of planting, growing, trellising, harvesting, preserving and using local hops. Along the way, we visit a local home brewer and science teacher who grows his own hops in Escondido. Another stop is the area’s largest and oldest hops farm, to see mechanized hops processing, then follow the harvest to a local commercial brewery where the brewer uses it in a wet hop beer. At a local brewing supply store, we discuss the history, purpose, and origins of hops in beer – as well as all the gadgets and doo-hickeys home brewers like to use. We end, in host Nan Sterman’s garage-turned-brewery, where her husband demonstrates how he makes his own “special brew.”