Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Falling for Hops

Fluorescent flowers ripen during the waning summer of central Washington. Here a shallow dessert valley cut by river boasts long daylight hours and dry climate, making Yakima the national premier hop growing region. Sun ripened wind carrying resinous, herbal, and citrus aromas announce autumn's arrival.

I'm proud to brew with Yakima Valley Hops and to hail from an agriculturally important area. The northwest (Wa, Or, Id) together produce 30% of the worldwide hop crop. Yakima Valley produces 77% of the total domestic crop and about ¼ of the international crop. Brewing with Yakima hops means supporting Washington agriculture, minimizing shipping expenses, and using fresh ingredients for fresh beer.

My favorite way to celebrate hop harvest is by drinking and brewing plenty of fresh hopped beer. Fresh or wet hopping uses whole, unprocessed hops during the boil to add aroma and bitterness. Intensely aromatic fresh hopped beer can only be brewed and drank in late summer and fall. Flavors and aromas of hops appear brighter and more potent.

Get Hopped up on NW freshness

Make a pilgrimage to the Yakima Fresh Hop Ale Festival the first Saturday of October. Featuring 23 breweries showcasing beer brewed with hops picked no more than 24 hours prior to brewing. $30

Check out the fresh hopped beer at your local favorites. Two Beers in SoDo, Seattle has one on already, and I'm a big fan of the Apre's at Icicle Brewing Company, of Leavenworth which should be on soon. Big Al brewing in Seattle also has a yearly offering.

Brew a fresh hop your self!

Check out the OR vs WA fresh hop throwdown September 29th at Nobel Fir, Ballard. 15 fresh hopped beer in one bar. This could get crazy!

Hood River Hops Fest is always a righteous party featuring great great beer.  This one is well worth a trip to Columbia Gorge September 29th.