Hop fans: come one, come all! I’m here to give you some insight on Jackalope that might surprise you. If your go-to Jackalope brew is Thunder Ann, for example, then it probably isn’t news to you that Cascade hops specifically are a taste you seek out. Cascade hops are one of the most popular and widely used varieties of hops used in many craft brews. These hops give off a citrusy, floral aroma and give your beer that “hoppy,” bitter taste that so many of us love. You’re probably thinking, I already knew all of that, where’s the surprise? About three miles from the Jackalope Den on 8th Avenue lies a farm called Glen Leven, and on this farm you’ll find Jackalope’s Cascade hops.
After graduating law school at Vanderbilt, and while writing the business plan for Jackalope, Bailey participated in a six month fellowship with the Land Trust for Tennessee. She got to work with Glen Leven, a 65 acre farm owned by the Land Trust in Nashville proper that also houses a pre-civil war mansion that sits proudly on the property. When Jackalope opened two years later, Bailey proposed the idea of growing hops on the farm. Supportive of Bailey’s idea, the team at the Land Trust hopped (pun intended) on with enthusiasm. So, in the Spring of 2013, Bailey planted the first batch of Cascade hop rhizomes.
The Tennessee climate isn’t ideal for most hop growth; however, Cascade hops are resilient and able to grow here. Over the course of the summer, these vines will grow up to 20 feet tall!
The hops are perennial vines, and it take three years from planting the rhizomes for the vines to reach their optimum cone yields. In March, the team meets to hang cables and canopies to allow the hop vines to grow upward, and then reconvenes in August to gather any hops that are mature enough for harvesting.
Each harvest supplies enough hops for one batch of beer. Using freshly harvested, undried hops is called “wet hopping” and the hops must be used within 48 hours otherwise they wilt. Ours are usually in the brew within 2 hours of being picked. Talk about fresh! So be sure to keep a look out this September for our annual wet hopped brew!
Read more about Glen Leven here!