Bale Breaker Brewing production areaAs summer comes to an end, the fields and orchards are abuzz as the crops are brought in and processed. Harvest is a great time of year in the Yakima Valley along the trail. Hops and other crops that make our ciders, spirits and wines are being picked and headed to production.
With the exceptionally warm and dry summer, many crops in the Yakima Valley are ahead of schedule. The wine grape harvest began in early August when Chardonnay grapes were picked for Treveri Cellars for their sparkling wines. Now other wine grapes are coming online and the crush is underway earlier than usual and for a longer period.
When it comes to expansion plans, Bale Baker Brewing Company is mirroring the harvest this year: It’s coming sooner than expected. Last week the owners announced plans to add 16,200 square-feet of space to their existing 11,000 square-foot operation near Yakima. This will give them more space for larger fermentation tanks, a bigger canning line plus space for dry and cold storage. “We’re in the midst of planning out our expansion now, which kind of surprised us because we weren’t planning to fill out this facility for probably five to seven years,” co-owner Kevin Quinn told the Yakima Herald in a feature on the expansion. Congrats to the gang, all of us look forward to your continuing success.
Meanwhile, on the West end of the Yakima Valley region, Bron Yr Aur Brewing Company outside the town of Naches is barreling along to a September opening (we hope!) Follow their progress via their Facebook page. In the meantime, you can stop by and enjoy their pizzas (love the BBQ pulled pork) plus the local and regional beers and ciders they have on tap in their adjoining restaurant.
Wishing you all a wonderful Labor Day weekend. Keep the firefighters battling the wildfires in your thoughts and prayers.
Hope all of you are having a great summer and finding ways to beat the heat. Of course a nice brew or from the Yakima Valley may be a good idea!
It’s been a busy month or two on the local craft beverage scene. Here’s the latest:
- Tieton Cider Works keeps improving their new facility. They have bocce’ ball along with a great outdoor area perfect for summer outings. In addition, they’ve released new ciders including a smoked pumpkin cider.
- The craft beverage makers in greater Yakima have banded together to develop a new marketing entity called Craft Beverage Yakima. Thirteen craft beverage makers from ‘gap to gap’ are part of the organization. Check them out!
- If you have not been to the new Hop Nation Brewing Company in downtown Yakima do stop by and hoist a pint by Master Brewer Ben Grossman. What separates this brewery from others is their focus on Washington agricultural products, specifically Yakima Valley Hops and Columbia Valley grain, and their relationship to award winning beer. It offers a tasting room to share with you its tasty, fresh, and uniquely hand-crafted brews. The brewery and pub is located off of North First Street in a one hundred year old fruit packing warehouse that was last used to house hops. The décor is an homage to the hop industry and features quarter rounds, kilns, hop poles, and hop twine integrated in everything from the lighting to the bar. The first four beers on tap included a German style Hefeweizen, an Oat Pale Ale, an ESB, and an IPA. With clever names like ESBeotch and EGO IPA (which stands for Everybody’s Got One) & great taste, you’ll have to try one.
- A partner with Hop Nation Brewing is HopTown Pizza, which cooks up mighty fine provides wood fired pizzas Wednesday through Saturday at Hop Nation. They’re a mobile wood fired pizza truck that also caters events and at other locations. They’re getting so popular that they’ve added a second truck to keep up with demand. They use all local ingredients in their food and of course, flavor the pies with a sprinkle of hops as an ode to their family history. (Porky Pine and Hop DaddyDo are my favs).
As always, we’ll keep you posted of news and updates along the Spirits and Hops Trail. Enjoy!
Had a chance to swing by Hop Nation Brewing Company’s soft opening last week during the First Friday event in downtown Yakima. Pardon the pun, but things were hopping! Owner Ben and crew were serving a nice crowd with the brews while HopTown Wood Fire Pizza was there baking up their 9″ pies of delight.
On tap was ESBeotch, EGO ipa, Cream On-oat pale ale and Weiss, a German Hefeweizen. Had a chance to try the Weiss and it delivered a smooth, mild wheat flavor you’d expect. Pints are $4.00 but when a train rumbles buy you get 50 cents off.
Also tried a slice of the HoppDaddyDo from HopTown pizza. With Italian sausage crumbles, pepperoni, Roma tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, basil and their signature pinch of hops it delivered a spicy and tasty complement to the beer. Hop Town Pizza is serving their wood fired pizzas Wednesday-Saturday 4 p.m.- 8 p.m. in the old Track 29 parking lot for Hop Nation guests and walk ups (31 N. 1st Avenue. Look for the big wood fire oven and friendly staff).
Hop Nation Brewing Company hours: According to their Facebook page, hours are 3:30 to close Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, 12-close Saturday and Sundays. Location: 31 N. 1st Avenue
Another gem in the downtown craft beverages along the Spirits and Hops Trail! See you there.
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.
Yakima Valley Tourism
Folks are still basking in the glow after what appears to be the most successful Fresh Hop Ale Festival in downtown this past weekend. Unofficial projections place the attendance at nearly 7,000! There was a lot of activity and energy, not to mention perfect weather and a stellar sunset! Congrats to the organizers and volunteers who made it a success.
Now on to more fall fun!
Our friends at Tieton Cider Works are planning a new chapter in their operation by opening a Yakima tasting room. The expanded space will include a Cider Bar complete with 6 taps of their core and seasonal ciders. The official ribbon cutting will take place on location Thursday, October 30th at 3:30pm. Cider and light refreshments will follow in the Cider Bar. Their Grand Opening Celebration is slated for Saturday, Nov 1 from noon to 5 p.m. with cider tastings, facility tours and give-aways. Their new digs are at 619 West J Street, Yakima.
While not a spirit or hop product, the annual wine crush celebrations are an emerging event in the Yakima Valley with dozens of wineries participating. Wine makers and staff will be sharing how wine is made as the grape crush is literally happening. Plus there will be wine discounts, food, harvest dinners, music and more at different wineries. Here’s a link of our member wineries and their activities coming up this week. Also, the Prosser Chamber of Commerce is putting on a Beer and Whiskey Festival Saturday October 11th so check that out too.
There’s lots of other celebrations and events happening this fall in the Yakima Valley to celebrate the season and harvest.
Finally, congratulations to the folks and businesses recognized as part of Sip Northwest magazine’s Best of the Northwest 2014, including Bale Breaker, Tieton Cider Works, Gilbert Cellars and Alexandria Nicole. Special call out to Sharon Campbell of Tieton Cider for being recognized as an cider industry influencer (so true) and Fresh Hop Ale Festival for being the Best Festival in the Northwest (agree).
See you on the Spirits and Hops Trail!
It’s a busy season here in ‘hop central’, also known as the Yakima Valley. Harvest is coming and the bines are full of fragrant hops ready for cutting.
The word at the brew pubs in the Valley is that it’s been a great summer with visitors coming from near and far. I was in Yakima Craft’s new tasting room downtown Saturday and the place was packed! Our local paper did a nice write up about their opening and our efforts to build beer tourism with the Spirits and Hops Trail.
And SmarterTravel.com did a shout out to the trail in a piece they wrote last month titled America’s Best Small Cities on the Rise. Pretty cool huh?
As spring quickly turns to summer in the Yakima Valley there’s a lot of developments along the Spirits and Hops Trail. Here’s a sampling of the latest news:
- Tieton Cider Works has purchased a 40,000 square foot building in Yakima with plans to make it their production facility and a tasting room. Management will make announcements regarding their plans, including the location, in June. We look forward to the new facility!
- Along that line, the Yakima Herald Republic recently reported that Yakima Craft Brewery is planning a downtown Yakima location. We’ll share more details when they become public so stay tuned. UPDATE May 20: As reported in the Yakima Herald Republic the new location will be in the Larson Building on Yakima Avenue in downtown Yakima.
- Congrats to the folks at Bale Breaker Brewing Company for being awarded Tourism Business of the Year by Yakima Valley Tourism. Well deserved. And if you had not heard yet, their beers are now being served at Safeco Field during Mariner games. Play ball!
- A new festival is being created in Yakima! The Yakima Blues and Local Brews Bash will debut Saturday, June 14th in the Historic North Front Street district in Downtown Yakima. The festival will feature local, nationally recognized, and internationally acclaimed blues artists from 2:00 pm to 9:00 pm. A highlight of the fun will be craft beers brewed in the Central Washington region, Yakima Valley wine and food prepared by Historic North Front Street district restaurants. There will be kid events too!
Anyway, look forward to seeing you in the Yakima Valley this summer.
People on the west side of the state will soon get a taste of a Yakima Valley brewery. Bale Breaker beer will be sold in King and Snohomish Counties.
The company sent its first shipment to distributors this week. That’s 90 kegs and 1,000 cases of beer. It’ll be sold at Trader Joe’s, select QFCs, and Total Wine and More.
Bale Breaker’s owners said they’re happy to expand.
“We do have a lot of pent-up demand, and it’s good to hear people asking for our beer over there, so we’re glad we’ll finally be able to start sending some beer over there,” said co-owner Kevin Quinn.
Taps will also be available at Seattle Mariners home games. Bale Breaker said it’s looking to distribute elsewhere depending on sales in King and Snohomish Counties.
Click here for the video story from KIMA news
With the longer days and warmer weather it feels like spring. And in March that means that the shamrocks will be blooming and the leprechauns we be out and about!
In Honor of St. Patricks Day, Wineries Express of Yakima will tour several Yakima Valley craft breweries. On the docket are stops at Yakima Craft Brewing, Bale Breaker in Moxee, Snipes Mountain in Sunnyside and Whitstran Brewing in Prosser.
Date: March 15th. The tours start at 1:30 PM from the Yakima Visitors Center and returns by 8:30 PM.
Cost is $60 a person, limited to 11 people .
For details and to reserve your spot head over to Wineries Express.
In Honor of St. Patricks ‘weekend’ we will tour some Yakima and Valley micro-breweries! We will visit Yakima Craft Brewing, Bale Breaker in Moxee, Snipes Mountain in Sunnyside, and Whitstran Brewing in Prosser. Start time at 1:30 PM from the Yakima Visitors Center. Returning at ~8:30 PM. NOTE: Assuming this goes well, we will do another series over summer to include Ellensburg’s Ironhorse, hard cider producers, and new breweries coming to Yakima!
This 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!