Planting Hops

We purchased 10 hop rhizomes - 5 Columbus and 5 Magnum, for a hop-growing experiment at the ranch. According to the internet (which is ALWAYS right), in Lemoore we are at the very southern edge of the acceptable latitude for the growing of hops. We set up a drip irrigation system and built the necessary trellis for success, now it’s up to the hops to grow.

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Hops need a support structure in order to climb and flourish. It is said that the structure should be at least 18 feet tall for fully developed bynes, although we are starting off at 12’ for the first year. We planned for the flexibility to raise the trellis another three feet if required as the plants mature in the next few years. The lines will support the bynes as they grow, and you can see from the photo below that one of the young plants is already winding it’s way around one.

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Hops require a lot of moisture but the soil needs to drain well. Hopefully, the summer weather here will not scorch the plants before they can fully mature and produce the hop cones we so desire. Both varieties of hop are hardy and both are excellent clean-bittering varieties. We’ll keep y’all updated on the progress.

Brewery and Tasting Room Design

When I took an architecture class in eighth grade, I never thought the training would amount to much. Back then, we used actual drafting boards, tape, pencils, t-square & triangle, and a pink eraser called a “pink pearl”. The whole classroom smelled like rubber cement and eraser dust, but it was pretty cool. These days, all design work is done on the computer using CAD (computer aided design) software - which sure makes things a lot easier, and a lot less messy. I didn’t spend a whole lot of money buying a fancy CAD program as I wasn’t really planning on using my drawings to actually submit - more as just a starting point for the real draftsman to refine. The software I used for my initial drawings is called Intaglio (for Mac) and is just a general drawing program - nothing too extravagant. The draft drawings I made are going to go through many iterations before we finally settle on a final design - but hey, it’s a point from which to deviate. The brewery and tasting room has to house the brewery (duh), a fermentation room (temperature controlled), and a cold room (for lagering and serving), and a tasting room. We need as much storage as we can possibly cram in, as well as an office for all the behind-the-scenes admin work that needs to occur. Additionally, and this is where a pro comes in, we need to be compliant with all the regulatory requirements for operating a business in Kings County, CA, including the Americans with Disabilities Act.


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Initial Floorpan Design

This is the initial design we came up with. It’s a small as we could make it and still meet all our requirements (or so we thought). We want to keep it simple and cost-effective to build, since Roscoe and I will likely be doing the majority of the work ourselves.

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Initial Cut at Front and Rear Elevations

We have hired a professional draftsman (and former county inspector) to guide us through the design and permitting process. I’m sure things will change as he educates us on the requirements for compliance with the county in order to get our building permit and our conditional use permit. We’ll update this blog when we decide on the final design.