Roots and Vines Fest Comes to Downtown Yakima

Lil' SmokiesLookin’ to cook up some fun this weekend? Here’s a recipe for you: Take eight hours of non-stop bluegrass, roots and Americana music. Then add 12 Yakima area craft beverage providers and local food vendors.  Combine with fine weather and you have a the makings for toe tappin’ and dancin’ on the streets.

The first Roots and Vines Fest takes over Downtown Yakima’s Historic Front Street Saturday, May 16th, from 2:00 p.m. to 10 p.m. In that time you’ll hear some fine picking from 10 regional and national bands including Sleepy Man, The Lil’ SmokiesFruition and Hillstomp. We’re excited to see our local Yakima friends from the Spirits and Hops Trail pouring their wines, beers, ciders and distilled products. For food options include G.G. & B’s Designer Hot Dogs, Carousel French Cuisine, Rusillo’s Pizza and Tazzah Mediterranean.

And while the fest is for 21 and older, there’s a family viewing area located left of the main stage at North Town Coffee.  For details check the FAQ site and be sure to bring smiles and sun screen!

Want a taste of what you’re in for? Check this video by Hillstomp of their song “Don’t Come Down”. See ya Saturday!

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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!

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!

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!

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).

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!

These are heady days for Yakima Valley craft brewers

Yakima Herald‘s business reporter Mai Hoang recently penned a column on the state of the brewery and hops industry in the Yakima Valley, claiming that “…2013 was the year that craft beer gained major traction in a region long known for wine.” We could not agree any more with that!

She offered the following to support that claim:

• In July, the Yakima Valley Visitors and Convention Bureau launched a new website  for the Yakima Valley Spirits and Hops Trail, which highlights the Yakima Valley’s breweries and other specialty alcohol products. Bureau CEO John Cooper said the craft brewing industry reached a critical mass that made the site necessary.

• John I. Haas opened its new 23,500-square-foot building in August, which includes, among other things, 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.

• The Fresh Hop Ale Festival, the annual fundraiser for Allied Arts of Yakima Valley, was the biggest in its 11-year-history in October. The event took up the entire parking lot near Millennium Plaza and attracted a record 5,000 attendees.

• Finally, she thinks Yakima Valley now has a mix of craft breweries that would have made Bert Grant (beloved Yakima area craft beer pioneer) proud. Snipes Mountain Brewing Co. in Sunnyside continues to produce beers that show up all over the state. Yakima Craft Brewing Co., which, when it opened in 2008, was the sole brewery within the immediate Yakima area, celebrated five years this year and now seems more like a veteran compared to the slew of breweries popping up nationwide.

Take a look at the full story here.