The craft beer scene has exploded around here, but the home-brew crowd's always been in the background. One man has taken it to the next level, coming up with entirely new varieties of hops.

Bob Bero's backyard garden looks a little different than most. He's growing hops.

Some varieties are common, but some you'll only see right here.

Most of this space is a grand experiment, trying to create new varieties by mixing and matching others.

"Throw some seeds in the ground and see what happens," said Bero.

His light bulb moment happened about 25 years ago when a single seedling suddenly popped out of his compost pile.

"I didn't want to start breeding at that point, but about ten years ago with the way craft beer just really went crazy I said, why not?" said Bero.

The idea behind the process is fairly simple, take two plants that you like and get them together to create something you like hopefully.

"First off, you have to have a hop that the public would like," said Bero. "Something that'll produce well is easy to grow. There's probably a list of about 20 different things that these commercial breeders look for."

Still, it's far from a slam-dunk process. You can take all the characteristics that you want to see in these plants, but until some of these seedlings actually, grow you don't really know what you have.

"Some of them can be duds, and there have been more duds than successes," said Bero. "The variability is incredible. You start thinning the herd. You blast them with some downy mildew spores and the ones that don't do well, you didn't want them. The strong survive."

Part of the fun, of course, is getting to the end of the season, the harvest, and brewing to find out what you have. Bob says it's like Christmas morning.

He'll take the good ones and grow those out the next season, hoping to find that magical variety that everyone will want.

"I just think it would be a cool thing to have a variety that came from my backyard in somebody's glass and people are saying wow this is pretty cool," said Bero.

Until then, he'll enjoy the flavors of each season in a backyard that's truly a brewer's paradise.

Bero says he relies a lot on local brewers when it comes to taste-testing these new varieties since they typically have a more refined palate and know what will be in-demand.