Besides have the usual veggie garden plus apple and plum trees I recently planted three Zinfandel vines. Even though the mailing list for the 2013 bottling is growing I decided to expand into other areas.
Today my hop rhizomes (rootstocks) arrived from Hops Direct in Washington State. Can't have all my eggs in the wine basket! It also is a coincidence my next door neighbor is a home brewer. We'll call it a symbiotic relationship.
Before Prohibition Sonoma County had thousands of acres of hops. Hop production has moved mostly up to Washington. You still see hop drying kilns in the area. I don't plan on building a kiln because it turns out you can dry them in a warm oven (that will make the house smell good)!
I know nothing about growing hops or what kind goes in what beer but from reading up I've selected these two:
- Centennial - Similar to Cascade Hops that are really popular but with a bit more punch. Good for making ales. It's a dual purpose hop meaning it adds bitterness and aromas (some hops just do one or the other).
- Chinook - A higher acid and more of a bittering hop used for ales, IPA's, stouts and lagers.
Just trying to be self-sustainable.