Lagunitas Brewing of Petaluma, California, is a big exponent of local ingredients, though usually food. But now they’re trying to make a portion of the beer locally, too. Lagunitas has planted a 1/3 acre test plot in nearby Marshall, California, right on Tomales Bay. I’m not sure about the weather at that location — with fog and wind — but I certainly admire the effort. They’re planted two hop varieties, Emperor and Pathetique (really Nugget and Cascade, but Tony Magee renamed them since they’re not being grown in the Pacific Northwest — and apparently he’s a big fan of Beethoven). If all goes well, they plan on developing five acres at the same location. Obviously, this won’t meet all of their hop needs, but I think it’s great that brewers are looking to grow their own hops and take a greater ownership of what goes into their beer. Now if we can just pull out all those grapes and get hops growing again in Hopland.
The Lagunitas Hopfields.
UPDATE 4.18: The Marin I.J., my local paper, also did a nice story on the new Lagunitas hopfield, in which they quote yours truly.