DIY Brewing

outlook_gp_bannerThese days craft brews are all the rage. Homeowners are even getting into the fray by brewing their own beers. Here are some suggestions for tapping (get it, tapping?) into that market with a brewer’s garden.

Gardens don’t just have to be beautiful anymore-they have to serve a purpose. And what better purpose than to grow the hops and spices need to brew a fresh batch of beer? I recently spoke with Patrick Weakland, who with his wife Amanda, owns a unique blend of garden center, brewery and hops farm out in Colorado.

The Weaklands are third generation garden retailers, and they have The Windsor Gardener in Windsor, Colorado. Brewing is one of Patrick’s favorite past times, and they added brewing supplies to the garden center mix. Nearly seven years ago they started growing hops, which turned into a huge field of more than 50 different hops varieties, which they sell online at Then, about a year-and-a-half ago Patrick and his son opened High Hops Brewery inside the greenhouse, where they sell their own creations and teach customers how to brew.

So they are uniquely qualified to talk about what would make a great brewer’s garden. Here are just a few of his suggestions:

  • Three varieties of hops that are easy to grow just about anywhere and can go in a multitude of beer types: Cascades, Centennial and Chinook, which can produce amber ales, India Pale Ales, Pilsners and cream beers.
  • Lemon verbena, which when dried, can make a great pilsner.
  • Cilantro-the flower on cilantro produces coriander seeds. These are great for wheat beers, or spicy Christmas ales.
  • Berry plants-whether its blueberry, raspberry or strawberry, all can make a great fruity beer.
  • Spruce or juniper-Patrick uses essence of these plants in his winter seasonal brews.
  • Mint-while mint can take over a garden unless carefully tended, spearmint and peppermint can add flavor to brews. And you won’t have to worry about your customer being successful with these fast growers.
  • Apple trees-now with patio-style apple trees, one can grow multiple varieties for that hard apple cider (or regular apple cider) that’s become so popular.

Article courtesy of Green Profit magazine. Jennifer Polanz is Managing Editor-at-Large for Green Profit magazine. She can be reached at