Our craft beer industry is a source of San Diego pride, but a group of area farmers are hoping to make the liquid in our glasses just a little more local. This past weekend, Nopalito Farm & Hopyard owners Jordan and Mariah Brownwood and their family held a farm-warming for their Valley Center organic farm; the Brownwoods took over the property late last year after the couple moved back to San Diego from Austin, where they operated a grilled cheese cart called Royale With Cheese and now provide the food service for University Heights' new Park & Rec.
With two and a half acres of hop vines, Nopalito is the second largest of the ten area farms that make up the San Diego Hop Growers Association. They also grow organic produce; the citrus makes its way to Fairweather/Rare Form in the East Village, where Jordan bartends, while their avocados get tucked into Lucha Libre's tacos. But the Brownwoods and their fellow farmers are currently organizing to offer fresh hops to local breweries interested in brewing fresh-hopped seasonal releases; Nopalito grows six hop varieties, including Cascade, Chinook, Nugget and Zeus, and say that they have commitment and interest from breweries including Monkey Paw Brewing, Fall Brewing Compan, Nickel Beer Company, plus Tijuana's Cerveceria Insurgente. At harvest-time, likely in early August this year, each acre should yield 1,000 pounds of hops.