Latest News Along the Spirits and Hops Trail

Bale Breaker beer cans and kegs ready for their frothy brew!

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.

Sunnyside to Host Ale Fest in June

10403594_812257152195105_4046189195267429752_nWe love festivals in the Yakima Valley and summer is prime time for festive fun.

Our friends in Sunnyside have created a new beer fest, giving you another opportunity to enjoy our locally crafted beers along the Spirits and Hops Trail.  The Sunnyside Summer Ale Fest takes place Saturday, June 27th at Centennial Square (6th and Edison) in downtown Sunnyside. Developed by the Sunnyside Daybreak Rotary Club, the event runs from 3:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.

According to the festival website, “The idea for Sunnyside Summer Ale Fest came about like most good ideas do–over a pint of great beer between friends. Okay, a few pints of great beer. Our community is known for producing some of the world’s finest hops, so we will honor our area’s hop production by celebrating the wonderful beer that it helps produce.”

Given the festival is in early summer, organizers will encourage the breweries to focus on summer ales. Local breweries tapped for the event include Bale Breaker, Snipes Mountain and Horse Heaven Hills plus Icicle Brewing of Leavenworth. Wineries slated to participate at this time include Upland Estates and Cote Bonneville. And if you get hungry, Hop Town Pizza and Ann’s Best Creole and Soul Food will be on hand.

On Friday night there will be a special brewer’s dinner paired with craft beers at Bon Vino’s Bistro  (122 N. 16th St.).

Early bird tickets (through June 20th) are $20. Admission for the brewer’s dinner is $40 each. Buy tickets and get more details at their website. Proceeds will help fund sports programs for kids in Sunnyside.

Spirits and Hops Trail Travels To Bend Oregon

20150426_124844-01We’re at the Sunriver Resort near Bend at the Travel and Words Northwest Travel Writers Conference, sharing stories of the Yakima Valley and the Spirits and Hops Trail.  We’re sharing how the Yakima Valley is ‘hop heaven’ since we supply 78% of the hops used by the breweries across the U.S. The LolliHop candies we gave out were a big hit. Likewise we shared tales of our agricultural heritage, wine country and the many festivals that celebrate our cultures. This morning we sponsored the breakfast and had the resort include locally grown food products donated by Chukar Cherries, Tree Top and fresh apples from the Valley.

With 70 writers and bloggers in attendance it’s an important event for us to share the stories of the Yakima Valley and to be a resource for the writers. Definitely our craft beverages are forefront in our message this year. Cheers to all the attendees!

Hop Nation Brewery Opens in Downtown Yakima

20150403_164732_LLS_1Had 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.20150403_164928_LLS_1

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.

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News Along The Yakima Valley Spirits and Hops Trail

IMG951722As spring sprouts in the Yakima Valley new craft beverage products are also springing up along the Spirits and Hops Trail. Last week we stopped in to Bron Yr Aur Brewing Company outside Naches to check the progress of their brewery. As you can see, construction is moving at a fast pace and the Hattens told us that they’ll open in late March. Bron Yr. Aur (pronounced brawn-rah-err) means ‘Hills of Gold’ in Welsh. At the family ran Naches Mercantile next door they currently serve ten regional craft beers. They also serve home-made pizzas and their crust is amazing!

Meanwhile, Hop Nation Brewing Company is brewing up their beers and is slated to open in Downtown Yakima soon at 31 N. 1st Avenue right near the railroad tracks. In addition to a tasting room, this brewery will have hop, beer and wine analytical laboratory testing. Once Hop Nation Brewing opens, a new addition to the scene  Hop Town Wood Fired Pizza is slated to to serve their lip smackin’ pizzas 5-6 evenings a week on site. Here’s an interesting tidbit on Hop Town Pizza: In honor of her hop farming parents Lester and Emma Roy, daughter Lori and staff sprinkle a small amount of Cascade hops on every pizza. The Roys are credited with being pioneers in the growing of the Cascade hop strain.

Yakima Hop Candy 1And here’s a tasty spring treat…have you tasted the new lollihops by Yakima Hop Candy? These are the funnest things to have come along in some time! Their lollihops are infused with local hops and come in such flavors as passion fruit, blood orange, lemon and mango. Heather with Yakima Hop Candy told us that more candy delights are in the works so stay tuned for those updates. They’re candy is available at our Information Center near the Target store in Yakima or click here for other outlets.

So have a great spring, enjoy locally crafted beverages, pizza and candy and we’ll see you along the trail!

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!

Cowiche Canyon Kitchen & Icehouse Serve It Up!

Cowiche Canyon Kitchen Yakima WAWhen the Cowiche Canyon Kitchen and Icehouse Bar opened in December, it ushered in a new era of dining experiences in Downtown Yakima. Graham & Kaulin Snyder are owners of the new dining establishment. Snyder accomplished his idea of creating the ambiance of a “polished American Tavern” with help from Graham Baba, a Seattle-based architect firm. The firm is known for their attention to detail and designing buildings that allow opportunities for local design, construction and craftsmanship. Snyder envisioned that the design, food and service of the restaurant would reflect Yakima’s agriculture. “The building design is inspired by fruit warehouses and the topography of the Pacific Northwest,” states Snyder.

The theme of a “polished American tavern” is carried out in both the exterior and interior of the building. The outside of the restaurant has concrete “boards” that resemble the rustic look of wood that is visible throughout construction process. The interior is surrounded in booth seating and an open kitchen. Customers experience the excitement of watching the preparation and presentation of what they ordered and a view of downtown Yakima while they enjoy their meal. The main dining room can seat up to 130 people and the space is used thoughtfully, providing hooks on the outside of booths and under the bar for coats, purses and scarves.

The Icehouse Bar (reminiscent of a modernized fruit warehouse) is meant to have a similar look to fruit cold storage rooms built in the past. The interior features blocks of “ice” that are actually hanging simulated light fixtures.

While choosing contractors, suppliers and other miscellaneous items for the restaurant, Snyder was conscientious in supporting the Yakima Valley by using local craftsman contractors and recycled materials. The material for the hostess station was made out of old wood from a local hop warehouse, while the greenhouse flooring came from bricks salvaged from the old Terrace Heights elementary school. Light fixtures in the Icehouse came from old smudge pots used to prevent frost in local orchards.

The restaurant’s menu reflects Yakima’s farm fresh bounty. Snyder describes some of the dishes as “thoughtful renditions of American Classics.” He continues to carry on the family tradition of having their own bakery area, as his grandfather owned the local Snyder’s bakery from the Great Depression era until the 1980’s. Whole roasted chickens, prime rib and chicken pot pie are a few of the unique meals offered. The Icehouse Bar cocktails are made with freshly squeezed juices and herbs that are home grown inside the restaurant’s greenhouse. The Bar is dedicated to offering unique spirits not easily found at other locations, local distillers, and some small labels from Europe, Japan and South America. Three beer tap handles have also been dedicated to experimental blends from Haas Hops.

Snyder was born in Yakima but grew up in Southern Idaho and graduated with a degree in social sciences from the University of Southern California. Prior to owning the Cowiche Kitchen and Icehouse Bar, he owned the Osteria La Buca restaurant, in Hollywood.

Next time you’re in town check it out, plus try the other dining and craft beverage options available in Downtown Yakima.

Details: Located at 202 East Yakima Avenue Yakima, WA. . Open Sunday-Thursday 11am-10pm, Friday & Saturday 11am-11pm. Icehouse Bar hours: Sunday-Wednesday 11am-11pm, Thursday-Saturday 11am – 12am. 509-457-2007

Spirits and Hops Trail In the News Again

Hoppy Ad Yakima ValleyMai Hoang of The Yakima Herald Republic penned a great feature today about our efforts and the City of Yakima to further position Yakima as a craft beverage destination.  We’re excited with the city’s commitment and all that we have accomplished the past year to market the craft beverages of the region.

What does the future hold? In 2015 we’ll be updating the Spirits and Hops Trail website plus print a map of the various craft beverage outlets on the trail. We’re also working with writers and bloggers that to host in the area and produce stories on the trail, the stories behind the craft beverages and dining opportunities. In addition, our marketing efforts will focus on fun food experiences and craft beverages. Currently we have a series of ‘We’re So Hoppy’ ads running in various lifestyle magazines including Sip Northwest and Northwest Travel (see sample at left).

So here’s to the new year and see you soon along the trail!

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

 

 

News and Updates Along the Yakima Valley Spirits and Hops Trail

Tieton Cider Works ExteriorFolks 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!