Yakima Valley Heads to Seattle Food & Wine Experience

swfeThe  Seattle  Wine  and  Food  Experience is this Sunday and the Yakima Valley will be there in force! In addition to a number of local wineries and other beverage providers, Yakima Valley Tourism is a Gold Sponsor and will host a double booth full of locally crafted bites and beverages.

Our prime sponsor to attend the show is Tree Top. As a result, we’re bringing Chef Kristin Johnson over to serve up tasty morsels using Tree Top products including honey crisp glazed vanilla peach palmiers, BBQ Chipotle cherry apple compote tarts, three apple Glacier Basin Cherry Brandy spritzer and a Chukar Cherry tart fruit smoothie chocolate. Like YUM!

On the beverage side we’ll pair these delights with a Syrah from Gilbert Cellars, a Viognier from AntoLin Cellars, an apricot hard cider from Tieton Cider Works and Bale Baker Brewery Topcutter IPA.

“This is a great way for folks in Seattle to taste what we grow here in the Valley,” stated John Cooper, President & CEO of Yakima Valley Tourism. “We’re excited to be at this show.”

General  Admission  tickets  are  $55 and  available  at http://www.seattlewineandfoodexperience.com. Must be 21 and over to attend. Hope to see you there!

Holiday Gifts from the Spirits and Hops Trail

ciderIt’s down to the wire, the final days of the year. Scrambling for that special gift or special beverages to ring in the New Year? Try some products from the Spirits and Hops Trail.

First off you might want to visit any number of our wineries for your holiday dinner wine or as a gift. Many of the wineries also have a range of wine related gifts including novelty cork screws, wine glasses, coasters and more. Everyone wants a little bubbly for New Years so consider some Treveri sparking wine to ring in 2015. Our choice would be the rose’ but really, you can’t go wrong with any bubly! A fun alternative for New Years Eve is a hard cider or two. Popular choices include the cherry or apricot ciders from Tieton Cider Works in Yakima. Or try their Gingerbread Holiday Cider, a limited release only available at their tasting room. It’s filled with nutmeg, ginger, and hints of vanilla.

Then again, a hearty beer might be in order to chase away the cold of a winter night. In that case consider Twin Stag from Yakima Craft Brewing Company, a Scottish Ale ‘…perfect as a complement to good conversation and long, bold tales.’ If you’re throwing a grand New Years party consider getting a keg of High Camp Winter Warmer from Bale Breaker Brewing Company near Moxee. This seasonal brew is named for the ski lodge on top of the White Pass Ski Resort. And while Glacier Basin Distillery does not appear to have any special events at the Ranch this time of year, you can always find their fine distilled products at various local outlets and restaurants.

From all of us along the Spirits and Hops Trail in Yakima & the Yakima Valley we wish you a joyous and safe holiday season. Remember, enjoy responsibly!

Yakima Is Becoming the Craft Beverage Center of the Northwest

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Tieton Cider Works celebrates their grand opening of their cider bar November 1st

Last Saturday, Tieton Cider Works had their grand opening for their new 35,000 square foot production facility and Cider Bar at  619 West J Street. With that celebration another craft beverage operation comes to Yakima. It joins four existing wineries (AntoLin Cellars,  Gilbert Cellars, Kana Winery and Lookout Point Winery) and two breweries (Yakima Craft Brewing Company, which has two tap rooms, and Berchman’s Brewing Company, which has begun brewing in West Valley just this week. Though not in Yakima, let’s also give a nod to nearby Bale Breaker Brewery). There’s also three distilleries in Yakima or close by (Swede Hill Distillery, Glacier Basin Distillery and Scenic Acres Orchard) plus the bars, pubs and eateries that offer locally crafted adult beverages.  And it doesn’t appear to be ending there. Sources tell me that other breweries and wineries are in the works for Downtown and beyond. That’s great news.

In a way Yakima is coming full circle. It was the birthplace of the modern day microbrewery/pub scene when Bert Grant opened the first post-prohibition microbrewery in 1982. Sadly Grants Brewery Pub closed down some years later and it was not until 2007 that Yakima saw another brewery open when Yakima Craft began operations. It’s only natural that the brewpub scene  would come back to Yakima. Our region grows some 75% or more of the hops in America, and much of it is processed in the City of Yakima. Likewise, with the vast quantities of wine grape and fruit production the Yakima Valley it’s fitting that more wineries and distilleries are popping up around town.

These are among the reasons why we created the Spirits and Hops Trail in the summer of 2013. The site celebrates our agricultural heritage through the craft beverages that make Yakima and the Yakima Valley special. Another goal of the Spirits and Hops Trail is to help the craft beverage industry to grow and prosper through marketing and media relations. In the coming months the website and related projects will expand to include additional features about our craft beverages, festivals that celebrate and promote them plus the people behind the scenes making it happen. As always we’ll keep you posted on new developments in the beverage scene in Yakima and beyond.

In the meantime, enjoy this Evening Magazine TV segment on Tieton Cider Works.

John Cooper

Yakima Valley Tourism

 

 

Prosser to Launch Beer and Whiskey Festival

Beer & Whiskey FestivalLong a focal point of the wine industry, the Prosser Chamber and community partners are looking to expand their reputation into other adult beverages with the Prosser Beer and Whiskey Festival October 11th from 4- 10 p.m.

Several northwest breweries and distilleries are scheduled to be on-hand providing attendees with a wide selection to taste. In addition to featuring local brews and spirits, there will be live music, food vendors and a rib cook-off judged by local chefs. Ticket packages start at $15 for General Admission which includes entrance and a logo glass. A $50 VIP ticket is limited to 200 tickets and includes a logo glass, 25 tokens towards food and drink purchases, and access to the cigar lounge. The $75 All Access passes are limited to only 100, and include a logo glass, 30 tokens towards food and drink purchases, access to the cigar lounge, a pre-event distillery tour at Blue Flame Spirits, and a welcome bag. Event only open to those 21 and over.

Event venue is the Prosser Wine & Food Park, 2880 Lee Road Prosser, WA 99350. (We wonder if after this event they’ll have to change that name?). Another great event along the Yakima Valley Spirits and Hops Trail!

Tickets for the event are on-sale now and can be purchased at www.tourprosser.com or by calling the Prosser Chamber of Commerce office at 509-786-3177.

New Craft Brewery To Open in Yakima Valley

Performance stage at Gilbert's Hackett Ranch

Performance stage at Gilbert’s Hackett Ranch

Soon it’s going to be a trio of adult beverage options at the Hackett Ranch near Wiley City!  The tentatively named Wiley City Brewing Company is moving forward with their operation at the the ranch located southwest of Yakima on 2622 Draper Road.

The working fruit orchard is the production facility for Gilbert Cellars and has been in the Gilbert family for generations. With a tasting room downtown, Gilbert recently opened a second tasting room on the ranch and has a number of musical performances slated for the summer. Last year  Glacier Basin Distillery opened at the complex, a craft distillery making premium brandies using fruit direct from the ranch. The brewery will be in the same Quonset hut as the Distillery, with an event center located in the middle.

Once opened the facility will surely be a big draw for folks interested in our locally crafted adult beverages. Stay tuned at the Spirits and Hops Trail for more details.

Beyond the Vine During Yakima Valley Spring Barrel Tasting

Glacier Basin TastingIt’s April in the Yakima Valley. Apple, cherry and other fruit trees are blooming by the acre. It’s also the time for Spring Barrel Tasting, when folks flock to wineries from Yakima to Red Mountain to enjoy wines straight from the barrel, great food, music and fun in the vineyards. Folks now have the option enjoy other adult beverages during the celebration along the Spirits and Hops Trail.

Here’s a run down of some the events happening at our partner’s establishments during Spring Barrel:

Glacier Basin Distillery will open during the main Spring Barrel weekend April 26th and 27th 10 a.m.  to 4 p.m.  for tastings and sales of their tasty grappa, cherry kirschwasser and apple brandy. Then they will be open every Saturday starting  May 3 through the summer, 11 AM to 5 PM. For more information visit their website.  2604 Draper Road Yakima, WA 98903. Phone: 509-930-0817

If you need a change of pace (and palate), stop in one of our many brew pubs and breweries in the Valley. Bale Breaker Brewing Company will be open  Friday 3-9 PM and Saturday 12-8 PM. On Saturday Bale Breaker will have fresh, hot pizza for sale. Snipes Mountain Brewery in Sunnyside is open Friday and Saturday 11 AM to 10 PM and 11 AM to 9 PM Sunday of Spring Barrel weekend.

Check our Guzzle and Grub section of the website for eataries in the Valley offering fine locally crafted beers, ciders, spirits and wines. Have fun during Spring Barrel and remember, enjoy responsibly!

Glacier Basin Distillery Opens During Spring Barrel

Glacier Basin TastingWe heard from Thomas Hale today about Glacier Basin Distillery’s hours of operation. They will be open during the main Spring Barrel weekend April 26th and 27th 10 a.m.  to 4 p.m.  for tastings and sales of their tasty grappa, cherry kirschwasser and apple brandy. Then they will be open every Saturday starting  May 3 through the summer, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Glacier Basin Distillery was founded in late 2012 by Cragg Gilbert, Karl Hale, Chris Bolm, Putnam Barber and Thomas Hale. Being the first craft distillery in Yakima, the partners at Glacier Basin Distillery look to make premium brandies using locally grown fruit from their on-site location, Gilbert Orchards’ Hackett Ranch at 2604 Draper Road Yakima, WA 98903. For directions to the Hackett Ranch visit the Gilbert Cellars website.

For more information visit their website.  Phone: 509-930-0817Glacier basin logo

And check back with the Yakima Valley Spirits and Hops Trail for more adult beverage news and information. Happy tasting!

Swede Hill: Another Distillery in the Yakima Valley

swede_hill_apple_pie logoSavannah Tranchell with the Yakima Herald Republic posted a great piece on a new distillery in the Yakima Valley, Swede Hill. Here’s an excerpt:

The word “moonshine” invokes all sorts of images: Backwoods bootleggers hiding stills in the Appalachians and evading law enforcement; homemade stills blowing up in the basement; incorrectly made liquor causing blindness.

But this isn’t a reality TV show, Kevin Milford isn’t some backwoods hick, and Swede Hill Distilling’s Apple Pie Moonshine may be strong enough to make you see double — but everything about this Yakima Valley operation is on the level.  Milford and his wife, Pam, are closing in on the end of their first year making and selling liquor commercially, and the two-person operation is entering a new stage of growth.

To read the full story click here. Congrats to Kevin and Pam on your new venture!

For more information on local spirits, breweries and hop lore visit the Spirits and Hops Trail.

The Super Bowl and Beer Facts

IMG_3451-dwAs the Super Bowl approaches and millions of fans cheer with a cold beer in hand, we thought we’d share some beer facts.

GAME RELATED FOOD AND BEER FACTS:

  • Super Bowl Sunday is the second-largest day for consumption of food and drink for Americans, behind Thanksgiving Day.
  • According to the Nielsen Company research, 51 million cases of beer will be sold to quench Super Bowl fans. We have no data on how many of them will call in sick Monday morning.
  • Not surprisingly, antacid purchases are estimated to increase by 20% the day after the big game!

BEER FACTS OVERALL:

  • Beer is big business in the U.S.A.- It’s a $246 billion industry, includes more than 2,800 breweries and 2 million jobs (Beer Institute).
  • There are more breweries in the U.S. than any other country in the world.
  • Which state consumes the most beer? According to the Beer Institute North Dakota at nearly  46 gallons of beer per capita per year. The least? Utah at just over 20 gallons per capita per year. Washington state is near the bottom of the barrel (bad pun) at 24.8 gallons.
  • Beer consumption has changed in recent years, with craft beers growing in popularity while mass produced beverages are declining. Check this article from Yahoo Finance online.

CRAFT BEER FACTS (from the Brewers Association):

  • Craft brewers currently provide an estimated 108,440 jobs in the U.S., including serving staff in brewpubs.
  • Growth of the craft brewing industry in 2012 was 15% by volume and 17% by dollars compared to growth in 2011 of 13% by volume and 15% by dollars.
  • Craft brewers sold an estimated 13,235,917 barrels* of beer in 2012, up from 11,467,337 in 2011.
  • The craft brewing sales share in 2012 was 6.5% by volume and 10.2% by dollars.
  • Craft brewer retail dollar value in 2012 was an estimated $11.9 billion.
  • As of March 18, 2013, the Brewers Association is aware of 409 brewery openings in 2012 (310 microbreweries and 99 brewpubs) and 43 brewery closings (18 microbreweries and 25 brewpubs).
  • 2,347 craft breweries operated for some or all of 2012, comprised of 1,132 brewpubs, 1,118 microbreweries and 97 regional craft breweries.

So enjoy the big game (GO SEAHAWKS) with your favorite beer. And while you’re at it, give a nod to the Yakima Valley in Washington, because no matter what beer you drink, there’s a 78% chance that the hops in your brew came from here. Cheers!

Americans Want More Craft Beer and Wine

tieton-3Today we’d like to share an interesting column by By Fred Tasker  as reported through McClatchy-Tribune News Service.

Americans are continuing their love affair with wine as 2014 arrives, but we may love beer and spirits even more. Here’s what’s trending in drinks:

■ We love wine: We drank more last year for the 19th year in a row — up 2 percent to 360 million 12-bottle cases, according to wine consultants Gomberg, Fredrikson & Associates.

■ We love American wine: California makes 58 percent of all the wine we drink.

■ We know what we like: Here’s what we bought in shops and supermarkets: 21 percent chardonnay, 12 percent cabernet sauvignon, 9 percent merlot, 8 percent pinot grigio or pinot gris, 6 percent moscato, 5 percent sweet red wines and 1 percent malbec, according to Nielsen, consumer sales consultants.

■ We’re not spending the farm on wine. Forty-eight percent of all wine purchased in U.S. shops and supermarkets cost $5 to $11; only 4 percent was $20 and over, The Wall Street Journal reported.

■ Wine is still playing catch-up as a national pastime drink. Americans drank $99 billion worth of beer and $69 billion worth of spirits in 2012, but only $37 billion of wine, a Gallup poll said.

■ Craft beer is coming on strong. It rose 15 percent in 2012 while regular beer was up only 1 percent, the Brewers Association said.

■ It’s a battle. Regular beer outsold craft beer 15 bottles to one last year. But overall U.S. per-capita consumption of all beer dropped from 25 gallons in 1981 to 20 gallons in 2012.

■ Spirits, especially expensive ones, are gaining. Irish whiskey grew 18 percent in 2012, Gallup said. Bourbon was up 4.5 percent.

■ In all of our drinks, we’ve taken to heart that old Super Bowl ad in which a fan whined, “I can’t taste my light beer.” Now we’re demanding more flavor.

■ In beer, we seek craft brews with insane amounts of bitter hops. Other flavorful brews include Leinenkugel’s Orange Shandy and MillerCoors’ Redd’s Apple Ale, says Shanken News Daily website. Samuel Adams has released a winter ale called Cold Snap, flavored with anise, hibiscus, orange peel, coriander and dried plums.

■ In wine, an old cliche says people talk dry but drink sweet. It may be true. The fastest growing varieties in 2012 were moscato, usually sweet, up 33 percent, and sweet reds, up 22 percent, Nielsen said.

■ In spirits, Irish whiskeys are growing, in part through pumping up flavors by infusing honey and other flavors, says Impact Databank. Pinnacle’s flavored vodkas rose 14 percent, it said, with offerings like cinnamon vodka, in partnership with Cinnabon.

■ Constellation’s Black Velvet Canadian whisky has a toasted caramel flavor that grew 5 percent in 2012, Shanken said. Crown Royal offers maple flavor, and Brown-Forman added peach and vanilla flavors.

■ Also, Beam Inc. has released a new version of its Courvoisier Cognac blended with red wine, and one blended with moscato, Shanken said.

■ Finally in our search for more flavor, we’re turning to hard cider. The U.S. market’s top 10 cider brands grew by 63 percent in 2012, Shanken says.

Fred Tasler has retired from The Miami Herald but is still writing about wine (fredtaskerwine@gmail.com).