Good Beer Hunting

no. 412

farmer peppy.jpg

Peppy is the farmer at Jester King Brewery here in the Texas Hill Country. This is only the second tour he's given of the land—land that recently expanded quite a bit—he’s cultivating. What looks like an empty plot with sticks and rocks covering the surface, and a goat shed blasting Pavarotti hidden off in the trees, is actually a very important project. Amongst all the other things happening on this 165 acres, it's also the site of Jester King's new vineyard.

After working here for about a year, Peppy jokes that he's spent “nine months digging up rocks. You can call me a rock farmer that likes goats.” He moved from Virginia to build out a life in sustainability with zero experience or knowledge. But his vision was real. “The planet is heading into tumultuous times and the goal is to find not what will work now, but what will work 10-15 years from now,” Peppy says.

Everything in front of Peppy has a purpose, much of it an experiment with crops that haven’t been implemented in central Texas. The berm on the right collects rainwater. The grasses beneath our feet prevent ground water from evaporating in the Texas heat. When some of the world’s best winemakers recently visited, they were asking a lot of questions. Peppy was the first to admit he didn’t have all the answers. Luckily, he's got time, lots of land, and limitless options on his side.