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

 

 

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!

2013 Was The Year For Yakima Valley Hops, Breweries, Distilleries and Wine

New-Years-decorThis has been a great year for the Yakima Valley adult beverage industry. Highlights included:

1. The opening of Bale Breaker Brewering Company, the first and only known brewery in American located in a working hop field! Also new to the scene was Glacier Basin Distillery, which has great plans for their emerging operations at the Gilbert Orchards’ Hackett Ranch.

2. John I. Haas opened its 23,500-square-foot building in August, which includes, a new testing brewery where craft breweries could make beers made with different types of hops. The company’s executives said they built the facility to better respond to the growing craft brewing industry.

3. The launch of our humble yet dedicated Spirits and Hops Trail website (thank you for your support).

4. The October Fresh Hop Ale Festival was the biggest in its 11-year-history. The event took up the entire parking lot near Millennium Plaza and attracted a record 5,000 attendees.

5. Tieton Cider Works continues to grow and flourish and received a lot of publicity in 2013. Check the features and videos on their website.

6. In the wine world, 2013 marked the 30th year since the Yakima Valley became the first American Viticultural Area (AVA) in the Pacific Northwest. Wine Yakima Valley celebrated the occasion with many events and educational programs.

So as New Year’s eve approaches we toast your success, wish all of you the best in 2014 and thank you for all you do for the Yakima Valley. Cheers!

Yakima Valley Spirits, Brewery and Wineries featured in Sunset

Grab the November issue of Sunset magazine for some fun reading on the Yakima Valley, including a number of the features along the Spirits and Hops Trail like Bale Breaker Brewing Company and Glacier Basin Distillery.

The opening heading says it all:  “Why You’ll Love the Yakima Valley in Washington: Taste wine on a mountaintop, tour a Prohibition-era hop farm, and eat tacos with the locals in eastern Washington’s agricultural wonderland.”

Read the article for yourself here.

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.