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A GROWING PASSION: Homegrown Hops: Local Flavor For Local Brews

Airs Thursday, March 1, 2018 at 8:30 p.m. on KPBS TV

Host Nan Sterman tastes wet hop beer.

Credit: Courtesy of Michael Gerdes / AGP Productions

Above: Host Nan Sterman tastes wet hop beer.

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.

Photo credit: Courtesy of Michael Gerdes / AGP Productions

Close-up photo of lupulin, the yellow substance found on the flowers of the female hop plant.

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, California.

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.

Photo credit: Courtesy of Michael Gerdes / AGP Productions

Host Nan Sterman with the brewer and the grower.

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."

Photo credit: Courtesy of Michael Gerdes / AGP Productions

Host Nan Sterman (right) and Curt taste beer.

Host Nan Sterman returns for Season 5 of A GROWING PASSION, a television show that celebrates all the ways that San Diego “grows,” from farms and nurseries to backyards and schoolyards, to native habitats and more.


Episodes of A GROWING PASSION will be available for streaming on demand following the broadcast. All past seasons are available on demand now.

A GROWING PASSION: Season 5 Preview

See a preview of Season 5 of A GROWING PASSION which starts on April 20, 2017. We visit hops growers, the San Diego Zoo, seed farms, hydroponic growers, and learn about native bees and urban forests. Host Nan Sterman offers gardening information, tips, and advice to grow a better garden and better understand the growing world.


A GROWING PASSION is on Facebook, and you can follow @GrowingPassion on Twitter. Share photos and follow the series on Instagram.

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