Hop Country–it’s a place, it’s our home, and we made a beer to honor it. Not many folks know about this magical land, and many beer drinkers are surprised when they learn of it. Last year, the Yakima Valley produced 42% of the world hop supply. So, the Yakima Valley is in effect Hop Country USA, and our brewery is located smack-dab in the heart of it all.
You might remember our earlier post about Field 41 Pale Ale and the history of the land that surrounds our brewery. For a refresher, Bale Breaker is literally located in Loftus Ranches’ hop field #41 out in the country, but is still only a 5-10 minutes’ drive from downtown Yakima. Loftus Ranches is our family hop farm established in 1932, the year before Prohibition ended, by our matriarch, Leota Mae Loftus, and her husband, BT.
Loftus Ranches grows hop varieties for many craft beer industry icons, from Sierra Nevada to the little guys like us. We are the only estate brewery located on a commercial hop farm, yet we only use about 1% of the hops produced by our farm, just to give an idea of the size of the hop industry here.
As you can tell, this is Hop Country. A promised land for beer drinkers, and a place of hard work, sweat, tears, grit, and the bite familiar to entrepreneurs who make something out of nothing. When the weather goes sour, or fortune favors the other guy–it’s the juxtaposition of success and failure. It’s a place where dreams are made and crushed simultaneously. A place where classic American farming is alive and well, supported in large part by an essential migrant labor force. This is where craft beer starts, where hops are selected, aromas are invented, and changes in the industry begin. We are prouder than ever of our roots and of the fact that we live and breathe Hop Country.
It’s all happening out of this epicenter, so come see it! In the summer, the Yakima Valley is blanketed in a lush green carpet of hops twined to trellises, and the smell and energy during harvest is so ingrained in us, we often say that it’s part of our DNA. The long days, plentiful sunshine, rich soil, access to irrigation, and strong community are what make our town the perfect place to grow hops.
What makes this place even more special is the industry icons who come flocking to this here Hop Country during harvest to select hops for the year’s brewing contracts, and they often end the day in our taproom. Brewers from Sierra Nevada, Stone, Odell, and even Russian River all stop by our big red building to cool off after the working day, and you know the best part for us? We get to pick the brains of industry leaders in the continual effort to hone our craft.
Our pride in being from Hop Country runs as deep as our roots here, so we made a beer in honor of our town, this little slice of hop heaven. Hop Country Session IPA hits store shelves mid-March, the first of a three-part IPA rotator series that we are stoked to share with our fans.
Posted March 07, 2019