Let's take a trip. Let’s get away from our warehouse districts and downtowns where so many of our favorite bars and breweries are found. We're going to the farm.
As discussions of place have become more common in beer and brewers and drinkers alike have taken up the effort of using "terroir" as a descriptive term, the place of agriculture has never been more front of mind in the U.S. beer industry. Best of all, you can find those conversations happening all over, including in North Carolina, where if you look hard enough, you'll find that direct connection between people, place, and a pint.
Dan Gridley is owner of Farm Boy Farms, a 90-acre farm in Pittsboro, North Carolina. His contribution to the local beer scene doesn't come from boiling wort or pulling tap handles, but the hops he grows on a small plot of land about 30 miles west of the state's capital in Raleigh. He started this business a decade ago with dreams of creating a self-sustaining farm brewery, and while that's yet to come true, he's slowly upped his annual yield of Cascade, Chinook, and other hops to go into beers made a short drive away.
For as much as beer lovers enjoy talking about dry-hop rates and whatever amount of dankness or juiciness can be found in their glass, Dan is the guy who's making those conversations possible. He's the first link in this chain that starts on a quiet, rural farm, and ends up at a bustling taproom. Education and story are big for the way Dan interacts with locals, whether they love beer or not, and I hope that over the course of this conversation you'll gain an added appreciation for some of the important behind-the-scenes work that goes on in beer. So many of us love talking about hops, but rarely get the chance to hear about bringing them to life.
This is Dan Gridley of Farm Boy Farms. Listen in.