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.

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Check Out The Hop-portunities on the Yakima Valley!

HOPS 2Hop-por·tu·ni·ty

 Noun: Hop-portunity; plural noun: Hop-portunities

  1. A set of circumstances that makes it possible to do something involving hops. Example: “We will see increased hop-portunities to enjoy craft beer.
  2. Synonyms: Favorable time, occasion, moment, right set of circumstances, opening, window (of hop-portunity), and possibility.

Now is the time to celebrate the hop harvest in the Yakima Valley, which grows 78% of the hops sold in the USA.  Plan to attend three festivals celebrating the craft beer made from these Yakima Valley grown hops. Visit the only Hop Museum in the nation; learn about the history of growers in the valley. Take the hop-portunity to taste what the Yakima Valley brews. Visit Hop Nation Brewing Co., Yakima Craft Brewing Co., Bale Breaker Brewery, Snipes Mountain Brewery and Restaurant; All craft breweries located in the heart of hop country.

And here are some events to enjoy our local craft brews:

9/12/2015 America On Tap Craft Beer FestivalDowntown Yakima 2pm-5pm. Showcasing over 100 releases from some of America’s best craft breweries! Attendees will sample beers in an atmosphere filled with live music, delicious food available for purchase, and great vendors. Standard Ticket $35 *Ticket Prices Increase by $10 at the Door. Include: 3 Hours of Beer Sampling /Souvenir Sampling Glass/Live Music Entertainment.

10/3/2015 13th Annual Fresh Hop Ale Festival:  5 -10 p.m. Experience why this festival was voted as one of the top ten beer festivals in the nation; the original fresh hop beer festival, and still the best. Live music by Legs & Cracker Factory. Over 40 breweries, over 100 beers to try, rare treats on the beer bike cruising around the festival, because we think that sometimes beer should come to you. Cheers! We know you love fresh hop beers, but sometimes your entourage is looking for something different. Local wineries such as Tieton Cider Works, Gilbert Cellars, Kana Winery, Antolin Cellars,Treveri Cellars, Naches Heights Vineyard, Swede Hill Distillery will also be pouring at the 2015 festival.

Take advantage of these great hop-portunities to enjoy craft beverages from the heart of the hop world.

(Thanks to our sister site  YKM509 for letting us share this entry)

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!

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.

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!

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!

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.

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!