Glen Leven Farm and Jackalope Brewing Company Team Up to Grow Hops By Erin Burcham Taylor

Itâ€TMs a sunny afternoon in April, the kind of day thatâ€TMs perfect for patio beers, but instead of enjoying one of their Jackalope Brewing Company crafts, Bailey Spaulding and Robyn Virball stand in the middle of a field on the Glen Leven Farm in Nashville. The duo behind one of the countryâ€TMs only female-owned craft breweries has their sights on a new seasonal brew, thanks to a partnership with the Land Trust for Tennesseeâ€TMs Glen Leven Farm to grow cascade hops on the property. For the first time in the history of the brewery, Jackalope will be able to use locally grown hops.

“Weâ€TMll be able to fresh hop brew, or add hops to the beer within 48 hours of picking,” Bailey notes. “This will allow us to create different flavors of beer weâ€TMve never been able to do before.”

With heavy rains forecasted for the next day, Bailey and Robyn have come out to the farm today, hoping to get the hops in the ground in time to take advantage of the much-needed precipitation. Joined by Liz McLaurin, Glen Leven Farm Director, the three discuss planting. The process involves erecting a tall wooden poll, attached with several strings of twine, and securing the end of each string to the ground near each plant, creating support for the hops vines to grow. When finished, the project takes the shape of a teepee.

Though it feels as if itâ€TMs on the rural banks of Middle Tennessee, in actuality, the 65-acre Glen Leven Farm is located just four miles from downtown Nashville, and two-and-a-half from Jackalopeâ€TMs front door. The late Susan M. Ward willed the property, including the 1857 Greek Revival home, to the Land Trust for Tennessee in 2006. Today, the property showcases open- space conservation, sustainable agriculture, and historic landscape preservation. The land is home to a honeybee sanctuary, the Hermitage Hotelâ€TMs Capitol Grille garden, and now, Jackalopeâ€TMs hops.

The partnership made sense for both parties. Bailey, who was once a legal intern for the Land Trust, had a connection with the not-for-profit organization, and Glen Leven Farm had tradition worth maintaining.

“Glen Leven Farm has a long history of women farming, so itâ€TMs very special for Jackalope to continue the legacy,” Laurie explains. “This project is low impact on the land, and helps create a farm ecosystem. The hops are good for the bees, which are good for the garden and vice versa.”

Three hops teepees now stand on the property, as Jackalope and local beer lovers wait for the first harvest, which wonâ€TMt take place until next summer. In total, it will take three years for the hops to reach their maximum potential.