Earlier this month, Yakima Chief Hops and Bale Breaker teamed up to head down under to promote Yakima Valley hops and the beauty of hop-forward and aromatic beers, as well as the launch of Yakima Chief Hops’ new Australian hop distributor, Cryer Malt.
We started our trip in New Zealand in a town called Motueka. It’s the Yakima Valley of New Zealand, or the heart of the New Zealand hop industry, to visit our hop friends. They run a farm called Mac Hops, a fifth generation hop farm (they’ve got one on us). It was really cool to experience a hop growing region other than our own, from the different trellis techniques to learning the word for the New Zealand hop field, which is a paddock. We were excited to have the chance to smell some new experimental hop varieties being developed in the other hemisphere and get to spend quality time with family friends.
After four days in New Zealand, we flew to Melbourne in Australia where we made a kickass IPA with Hawkers Beer. In that collab, we used a new experimental hop, HBC 692, and some killer Loral. Those guys were super nice and had a great facility. We even got to enjoy some lamb on the barbie and sit in on their barrel-aged beer tasting, which was definitely a highlight of the trip.
Cryer Malt hosted a Melbourne craft brewer meet and greet at a local brewery, so we got to drink beer with and pick the brains of some talented Aussie brewers. The best part about the craft beer industry is the sense of community and open-door policy among breweries and hop farms alike.
Next on the agenda was Brisbane. We attended the Queensland Beer Awards and got our first meeting with Scotty, the brewmaster at Balter, who won a gold medal for his session IPA. That's some good stuff. We hit a few Brisbane breweries before a drive down the coast to Currumbin.
Both nights in Currumbin, we saw the craziest lightning storms and got to enjoy some “tinnies & tacos” (aka canned beer and tacos). Sales Chief at Yakima Chief Hops, Ryan Hopkins, aka grill master, miscalculated his grill skills and showed us how NOT to cook a kangaroo steak. Ha!
Up next in Canberra, we attended a beer festival where we got to taste a gold mine of craft beers. We brewed a beer with Bentspoke, the home of brewmaster Rich, who happens to be known as one of the godfathers of craft beer in Australia. (We're not worthy!) He was the first Australian craft brewer to use Yakima Chief Hops. Woo!
In all, we flew 14 flights in 14 days, were in two countries and seven cities, and wildest of all, logged over 15,000 miles of travel. Thanks for the good times, Australia and New Zealand. We'll be back. Cheers!
Posted March 22, 2019