Fresh Hop Ale Festival is Coming!

hop dudesWhile the sun shines bright and it’s still very warm in the day, the nights are cooler and a feeling of fall is in the air.  It’s harvest time in the Yakima Valley. One great way to celebrate the end of the hop harvest is the 11th Annual Allied Arts Fresh Hop Ale Festival Saturday, October 5th in downtown Yakima.

The event features more than 30 breweries, 16 food vendors, five local wineries and two amazing bands (Imagine the Giants and The True Spokes). The celebration showcases beers produced with fresh, Yakima Valley hops. To qualify for the festival and be considered a “fresh hop ale” the beers must be produced with Yakima Valley hops that have moved from bine to vat in 24 hours.

Pre-sale ($30) tickets are on sale at local businesses around the Valley during regular business hours through 5pm on Friday October 4th.  Locations: Bob’s Keg and Cork, Yakima Sports Center, Red Lion Hotel, Hilton Garden Inn, Off the Record, The Deep Sea Deli, The Beer Shoppe, Yakima Craft Brewing Co., Bale Breaker Brewing Co., Sporthaus, Berts Pub, Gilbert Cellars, West Valley Bar & Grill, Holiday Inn or at Allied Arts of Yakima Valley.  Plenty of tickets will also be available for $35 at the gate.

Ticket price includes a commemorative beer glass and $7 scrip (used instead of cash for beer and wine. Cash only for food purchases). ID is required for everyone, from 21 to 91!

This year organizers have paired with the Pirate Plunder Race so that it’s a day packed with fun. Come do the adventure race Saturday morning or afternoon,  then join the Fresh Hop festivities that evening to quench your thirst and celebrate completing the course!  Make it a weekend of fun by staying over Friday and Saturday nights. To book your hotel or B&B room visit our lodging site.

See you there!

Touring the Spirits and Hops Trail

Last week we toured a few of the businesses on the trail, enjoying a behind-the-scenes look at their operations and getting to know the people making these fine beverages.

First stop on the tour was Tieton Cider Works. The fruit that is used in their cider comes from Craig and Sharon Campbell’s Harmony Orchards, which has been in their family since the 1920’s.  Rob McCurdy took us on a tour of the production line and explained the cider making process.  Did you Tieton Cider  Juice processingknow that cideries in Washington are licensed as wineries? Rob shared the fact that based on gallons produced, Tieton Cider Works is among the top 20 ‘wineries’ in the state.  After the tour,  cider maker Marcus Robert provided samples and talked about the craft of cider making. Tieton Cider products are available at many locations.

From there we took a quick, impromptu side trip to Tieton Farm and Creamery,  a 21-acre farm located  on a grassy hill near Tieton.  Owned and operated by farmer Ruth Babcock and cheese maker Lori Babcock, they have been producing quality artisan goat and sheep blended cheeses since 2010.  You can find their cheeses at these retail outlets.

Glacier Basin TastingHeading south through county back roads we next visited Glacier Basin Distillery located at The Cave at Gilbert Cellars near Wiley City.  Master distiller Thomas Hale provided samples of his Grappa, a grape pomace brandy of Italian origin. It has a smooth sipping, fruity finish, hand crafted from Washington State grapes. Exciting developments are in the works at The Cave as a tasting room is being built for the distillery and an on-site brewery will soon be under construction.  Thomas shared that tastings of his products are currently available during the special events at The Cave.

IMG_3760While there, Jessica Moskwa of Gilbert Cellars provided samples of their fine wines and a tour of the Cave, plus discussed future plans for their facility.  If you have not been out there for one of their events it’s a must see.  Their new grassy performance venue is IMG_3750gorgeous and the setting among orchards and lavender can’t be beat.  While the Cave is only open during special events,  you can visit their main tasting room in downtown Yakima year-round.

After soaking in some sun we loaded up the bus again. Final stop of the day was Bale Breaker Brewing Company.

Bale Breaker Tour and BusThe staff at Bale Breaker welcomed us with samples of their popular Field 41 Pale Ale and Topcutter IPA.  After a great lunch provided by nanakates of Selah, the crew was treated to a tour with Kevin Quinn, co-owner, brewer, sales, distributor and ‘jack of all hop trades’.  Having a chance to view their new facility carved out of a hop field was an experience.  Kevin knows his hops and taught us much about their growing patterns, lifecycle, harvest and production.

After seeing the hop heads on the bines (not vines) just outside the Bale Breaker beer cans and kegs ready for their frothy brew!tasting room, we headed indoors for a tour of the plant.  Kevin extolled the many values of producing beer in cans including environmental friendliness, protecting the beer from exposure to light, easier transport for outdoor activities and less packaging.  The stacks of empty beers cans ready for production were a site to see!

It was a great day touring the bounty of the Yakima Valley.  Harvest time is upon us so come visit the Spirits and Hops Trail.

Special thanks to A&A Motorcoach and our professional driver Rich for a great job navigating the back roads of Yakima County.