Sure, anyone can buy a home beer-making kit. But why not go one step further and grow the hops yourself? That’s what Ben Granger, owner of a specialty beer shop, decided to do when he turned to home brewing. “I wanted to know what I was working with, from start to finish,” he tells the New York Times—and as a bonus, the fast-growing, dramatic vines give an aesthetic boost to even non-drinkers' gardens.
When the weather gets hot and humid, Granger’s Golden hop vines grow 6 to 10 inches a day; he harvests the hops each August or September, experimenting with fresh and dried hops for his home brews. For aspiring beer-makers, though, he recommends the easy-to-grow Cascade vine, which should be planted in spring—and doesn’t require much more than fertile, well-draining soil.