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.
Lookin’ 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’ Smokies, Fruition 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!
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
Long 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.
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?
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.
As craft beer continues to capture the imaginations and palates of millions of Americans, Bale Breaker Brewing Company is one of the many breweries nationwide that will toast the 9th annual American Craft Beer Week (ACBW). With more than 2,800 small and independent craft breweries across the country, the observance of ACBW is more significant than ever before. Across all 50 states, craft beer lovers, breweries, wholesalers and retailers will celebrate the culture and community of craft beer.
In Yakima, Bale Breaker Brewing Company has events planned the weekend of May 16-17 (all ages welcome!). On Friday, May 16 from 4-8 PM they will have pizza by the slice from Moxee’s Big Red’s Diner. Saturday from 2-8 PM they’ll offer gourmet turkey sausage dogs with Winey Dogs and a special FREE behind-the-scenes brewery tour at 2pm!
“American Craft Beer Week allows everyone to honor and toast the hard work and success of the craft beer community,” said Julia Herz, publisher of CraftBeer.com and craft beer program director at the Brewers Association. “Against many odds, craft brewers have used grassroots efforts to grow the industry one glass, one bottle, one can, one keg, one growler and one customer at a time.”
Cheers to American Craft Beer!
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!