Morning light faded from blue to a soft golden tone, we were up and at ‘em before daybreak with a film crew this week to record some hop harvest footage and fresh hop brew days. It rained the night before, so workers were outfitted in head-to-toe rain suits to avoid getting soaked as they crawled through hop fields, foot after foot, harvesting soaking wet hop bines from their trellises. As we followed the topcutters and hop trucks and bottomcutters around some Citra® fields while they were being harvested, watched the hop picking machine be loaded by hand with bine after bine, watched burlap bale after bale erect before our eyes with a handsewn finishing touch, we remembered exactly why we named our second IPA rotator release after this striking, tough process.
Sunrise to sunset and back around again, laborers on our hop farm, Loftus Ranches, do the backbreaking work required to harvest hops off the bines to get them into the next great IPA. Like most manual labor farming jobs, harvesting hops is not easy work; hops are prickly, being exposed to the elements, no matter the weather, ain’t fun, and long shifts make long days. The entire month of September is around the clock hard work and often sleepless nights.
The golden light infamous to the Yakima Valley sunshine is arguably at its most ambient peak during September. We really like seeing that golden light shine through a pint glass full of a golden, clear, West Coast IPA. And the soil also infamous to the Yakima Valley has done the thankless work nourishing our hop plants from dormancy to climb up the 18-foot trellises that blanket the valley and surround our brewery.
Here in Hop Country, USA, we know so many members of our community who embody the spirit of grit. As the Yakima Valley produced 42% of the world’s hop supply last year–it’s the kind of sheer volume and work that takes many hands and a bounty of grit. It also requires the right kind of dirt essential to keep producing these luscious hop plants for many harvests to come.
Grit. Fortitude. Resolve. It’s required to farm hops for multiple generations, to labor during a hop harvest, and we can attest to the fact that it’s also vital to build a business from the ground up. Without a character backed by grit, it’s tough to make a go of it in farming and in brewing beer. At Bale Breaker, we’re here to take that grit and turn it right back into gold.
To tip our hats to that soil, our hard work, and to fellow community members who know the meaning of true grit, we named the second release in our IPA rotator series Golden Grit IPA (6.6% ABV / 60 IBU). Fruity and hoppy with notes of citrus, berries, stone fruit, and melon. Smooth bitterness and crisp mouthfeel. Available until January 2020. We hope you enjoy it.
Special thanks to Inland Film Co. for the photo of laborers and for filming with us this week.
Posted September 13, 2019