News Along the Yakima Valley Spirits and Hops Trail

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!

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!

Tieton Cider Works Launches New Look

Titeon Cider labesls

Have you seen the new  package design for Tieton Cider Works? Be on the watch as they roll out the designs this month. The Washington State based, family owned company has been creating craft cider for six years and currently produces 13 different offerings. According to their release, the new label design is targeted toward developing a strong sense of  terroir – or “Tieton”.

“Six years ago the craft cider business was virtually nonexistent,” explains owner and third generation orchardist, Craig Campbell. “Our original labels – with the word “cider” pronounced and centered– were designed to assist in the development of an entire category. With so many new brands entering the marketplace, we felt the need to focus on Tieton and Yakima – and their deep sense of place”.

Craig and Sharon Campbell own and operate nearly 400 acres of land, known affectionately as Harmony Orchards in Tieton (pronounced tie • uh • tun). They’ve been farming commercial apples, cherries, apricots and pears for over 30 years and selling to many stewards of high-end produce for equally as long. Then the cider-bug hit!

“We began to research the utter absence of bitter-sharp and bitter-sweet apples planted within the United States,” said Campbell. “And we decided that we would press forward and plant many varieties of these artisan cider producing apples while remaining loyal to craft production”.

Today, the Campbell Family has 40 different types of bitter-sharp and bitter-sweet apples planted, along with 11 types of Perry pears utilized to make their CAMRA certified Sparkling Perry, a Champagne-like drink poised for a renaissance. The Campbell Family orchards are far and wide and require a 30 minute drive time between plots of sprawling land. For the Campbell’s, and much like the way the wine industry boosts of a sense of place, their secret to great cider rests in the very ground they plant and manicure daily.

From a humble start, beginning with their flagship apple cider called Wild Washington, Tieton Cider Works has expanded and currently produces seven core ciders, including Cherry, Apricot, Dry Hopped, Tieton Dry Blend, Blossom (a slightly sweeter cider ALSO releasing in March), and Spice Route (a new offering releasing in July). Seasonal ciders include, Smoked Pumpkin (releasing in July), Holiday Cheer (releasing in October), Frost (an ice-wine style cider released in October) and Wind (a port-style cider released in October).

Tieton Cider Works opened their new 35,000 sq. ft. production facility and tasting room in Yakima for cider tastings this past winter.

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!

Swede Hill: Another Distillery in the Yakima Valley

swede_hill_apple_pie logoSavannah Tranchell with the Yakima Herald Republic posted a great piece on a new distillery in the Yakima Valley, Swede Hill. Here’s an excerpt:

The word “moonshine” invokes all sorts of images: Backwoods bootleggers hiding stills in the Appalachians and evading law enforcement; homemade stills blowing up in the basement; incorrectly made liquor causing blindness.

But this isn’t a reality TV show, Kevin Milford isn’t some backwoods hick, and Swede Hill Distilling’s Apple Pie Moonshine may be strong enough to make you see double — but everything about this Yakima Valley operation is on the level.  Milford and his wife, Pam, are closing in on the end of their first year making and selling liquor commercially, and the two-person operation is entering a new stage of growth.

To read the full story click here. Congrats to Kevin and Pam on your new venture!

For more information on local spirits, breweries and hop lore visit the Spirits and Hops Trail.

Welcome to the Spirits & Hops Trail

BLOGGER: John Cooper, President & CEO

I’m excited to introduce you to our new website and marketing effort, the Spirits and Hops Trail.

So why did we create the site? The easy answer is why not? We have lots to brag about when it comes to adult beverages. Of course everyone knows the Valley is a top destination in Washington state for wine production and wineries. The Yakima Valley American Viticulture Area (AVA) is now 30 years old, we have more than 100 wineries open to the public and we produce nearly half of the wine grapes in the state. What folks may not know is that the Yakima Valley is the powerhouse in the hops world and an emerging destination for craft beers, cider and distilled beverages.

As for hops, think about this. No matter where you order a beer in the U.S., whether locally brewed or one of the big brands, there’s a 78% chance that the hops used for that frothy brew came from the Yakima Valley. Staggering but true. Our Valley is the second largest producer of hops IN THE WORLD, just behind Germany. Now there’s bragging rights!

So we developed this effort to let you know of the bounty we have here stemming from the hop industry, locally crafted ciders, beers and distilled drinks. The website and blog are also great ways for us to share the stories of the people and businesses that bring you these great products and share the latest ‘news and brews’. I invite you to come over to the Yakima Valley and join in the fun. Cheers!

Yakima Valley Tourism
10 N 8th Street
Yakima, WA 98901
509-575-3010
800-221-0751
info@visityakima.com