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How We Grow Spice For Our Beer And Whiskey

A few miles from here, this year’s crop of Rogue Farms jalapeños is just getting started.


Each crop of jalapeños begins in the greenhouse.
Each crop of jalapeños begins in the greenhouse.
Peppers are just one of the ingredients we grow that don’t start from seeds. The others include marionberries, our seven varieties of hops, and all of our orchard fruit.
Peppers are just one of the ingredients we grow that don’t start from seeds. The others include marionberries, our seven varieties of hops, and all of our orchard fruit.
We’ll plant the jalapeño starters in the soil of Rogue Farms in June, when the cool and cloudy days are behind us, and the soil is soft and warm.
We’ll plant the jalapeño starters in the soil of Rogue Farms in June, when the cool and cloudy days are behind us, and the soil is soft and warm.
These pretty, white flowers appear a few weeks later and will be pollinated by our honeybees. Each flower produces a single pepper.
These pretty, white flowers appear a few weeks later and will be pollinated by our honeybees. Each flower produces a single pepper.
The jalapeños are full grown by September. They’re technically not ripe, but very spicy and edible. This is when most pepper farmers pick their crop.
The jalapeños are full grown by September. They’re technically not ripe, but very spicy and edible. This is when most pepper farmers pick their crop.
We let our jalapeños mature for another several weeks until they’re fully ripe and bright red. Picking happens in October, long after of our other crops are harvested.
We let our jalapeños mature for another several weeks until they’re fully ripe and bright red. Picking happens in October, long after of our other crops are harvested.

If everyone else picks their peppers while they’re green, why do we wait?

That extra time on the plant brings down some of the heat, allows the flavor to deepen and mature, and reduces moisture in the peppers. Now they’re perfect for the next steps, first we kiln them and then dry smoke them for 24 hours over fires of alder and cherry at our Brewery and Distillery in Newport. When we’re done, our jalapeños become the chipotles Brewmaster John Maier uses to brew Chipotle Ale and mash our new Chipotle Whiskey.

This is why the Rogue GYO Revolution became the DIY Revolution. Growing our own ingredients wasn’t enough. Growing, malting, smoking and roasting our own lets us create even more flavors for John as he crafts our world class beers and spirits, and invents new ones from scratch.

Rogue Farms is open every day this week for the Craft Brewers Conference. The weather turns sunny and warm starting Wednesday, so come out and see how we grow beers, spirits, ciders and sodas.

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