September 15, 2022

Veteran-grown hops to host craft beer festival on Saturday

1.3 min read| Published On: September 15th, 2022|

By Cindy Peterson

Veteran-grown hops to host craft beer festival on Saturday

1.3 min read| Published On: September 15th, 2022|

The third annual HopsFest is set for Saturday from noon to 5 p.m., which will showcase craft beers from local breweries that use hops from the veteran-run hops farm, St. Johns Hops, at 40923 Maxwell Road in Umatilla. 

The $20 adult entry fee includes drinks from all the breweries, live music and farm fun right in the heart of the hops farm. Food trucks and vendors will also be available. 

“We are excited to announce a few new local breweries that will be joining us this year,” St. Johns Hops owner Sebastien Lajeunesse says. Azalea City Brewing Co. in Palatka has been using our hops to make a blood red ale called the Corpsman Up, which is what they yell for a wounded marine. The brew master was a Navy medic and it’s been a great relationship working with them. They will be here with that drink as well.” 

Mac and Whitney Brewing in Mount Dora and Mammoth Oak Brewing Company in Leesburg are also new additions to the festival. Returning breweries include Bully Brewing in Leesburg, Leader Brewing in Palm Bay, Wop’s Hops Brewing Company in Sanford, Crooked Can Brewing Company in Winter Garden, American Icon Brewery in Vero Beach, Hourglass Brewery in Longwood and Ancient City Brewing in St. Augustine.

St. Johns Hops is a veteran owned and operated farm that specializes in horticulture therapy to aid veterans diagnosed with PTSD. All proceeds from the festival will benefit their non-profit, Warriors to Farmers, to sponsor more veterans in program.

In July, Sebastien’s platoon mate Mark Eubanks came on staff as the certified horticulturist, elevating the quality of their hops and opening doors for a teaching program at the farm.

“Went from paroling side by side together in Afghanistan, with metal detectors looking for IEDs, to walking side by side growing hops together at the farm,”  Sebastien says.

They along with other veterans in the program will be at the festival, giving tours and information on their program.

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About the Author: Cindy Peterson

Originally from the small town of Berryville, Arkansas, Cindy has become a multimedia specialist in journalism, photography, videography, and video editing. She has a B.S. in Communications from the University of Central Arkansas and produces Style Magazine's Sports Hub Podcast and the Healthy Living Podcast. She also produces for Beacon College’s Telly Award-winning PBS show, “A World of Difference.” When she isn’t working, Cindy loves traveling the National Parks with her husband , Ryan, and son, David, photographing wildlife.

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