Showing posts with label hops. Show all posts
Showing posts with label hops. Show all posts

Saturday, July 27, 2013

WAWeekend: On the Spirits and Ale Trail

A couple years ago I visited the Yakima Valley researching a Washington Ale Trail travel article for the Seattle Times and followed a customized ‘ale trail map’ I’d developed for myself. 

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That’s because the tourism folks in this cradle of Central Washington’s wide open spaces and agricultural lands didn’t have such a document. . .but, they promised, it was coming.

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They did have ‘wine road’ maps because those producers of the grapes and the makers of the vino are pretty much the headliners of the area – and have been for the past few decades. That wasn’t of much use because I was on the trail of ale. . .

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The hop – the basic ingredient of ales – has been grown in the Yakima Valley for decades. High school chums used to earn spending money by ‘stringing hops’; twirling those twisty little shoots around the strings that would lead the vine skyward as the summer continued. Hop kilns, those enormous bigger-than-barns wooden structures used to dry the hops at harvest time dotted the landscape.

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Hop Vineyards in the Yakima Valley
Here’s  the kicker: 78% of the hops grown in the United States are grown in the Yakima Valley!

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American Hop Museum - Toppenish, WA

International visitors make treks to the American Hop Museum in the small Lower Yakima Valley town of Toppenish but not a lot of folks on this side of the state or elsewhere, I suspect, even know of its existence. (It is well worth a visit if you’ve never been there!)

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Hop cluster

Back to those tourism folks and that map they promised. . .just this week I got a news release with a link to:

 The Yakima Valley Spirits and Hops Trail website which has that promised map, a list of upcoming events, ‘sip spots’ and ‘guzzle and grub’.

Kudos to those folks because it’s an amazing piece of work and will serve any visitor well! Click the link above and check it out.

Here’s a couple of the events you’ll find listed there:

Annual Apple Valley Kiwanis Wine Country Trek Sat.– Sun., September 28 - 29

A scenic two-day, 120-mile bike ride, round-trip from Yakima to Prosser, through vineyards, hop fields and orchards. Start time from Yakima on Saturday is 8:00 a.m. returning Sunday at 6 p.m. Registration is $135 per cyclist with all proceeds going to Kiwanis community and youth service projects. This event coincides with the Hot Air Balloon Festival and the Harvest Festival in Prosser. Registration includes our famous gourmet dinner, the balloon glow, overnight camping (indoor and outdoor) in Prosser, Sunday morning breakfast, baggage transportation and break stops. For information, visit

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Finished product: ales

Attendees at the 11th Annual Fresh Hop Ale Festival can enjoy selections from numerous participating breweries in addition to brewing demonstrations, a cigar tent, food from local restaurants, live music and street dancing. The Festival begins at 5 p.m. and will continue until 10 p.m. Ticket prices are $30 if purchased in advance and $35 at the gate. All proceeds benefit Allied Arts of Yakima Valley which coordinates art programs, classes and events for the community. Pre-sale ($30) tickets are on sale at local businesses around the Yakima Valley during regular business hours through noon on Friday October 4. Plenty of tickets will also be available for $35 at the gate. Ticket price includes a commemorative beer glass and $6 scrip (used instead of cash for beer and wine, but note that food is cash only and that the event is 21+ only. ID is required for entry. For more information, visit

If  You Go:

Map picture

There are daily flights from SeaTac (Seattle Tacoma International) to  Yakima. Driving time from Seattle is about three hours to the Lower Valley;  little more than two hours to Yakima.

That’s it for this weekend’s focus on Washington State.  As always thanks for the time you spend with us. Hope you’ll tell friends to come along on our journeys together.  They can sign up to receive the posts  by going to the home page,

And a request to our Facebook followers:  if you have a post that you particularly like, please ‘share’ it on your page – that what keeps the page in circulation!
Happy and Safe Travels~

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Washington Wednesday: Yakima’s Ale Trail

 Yakima Ale Trail 002 This week's focus is on the Yakima Valley, where I grew up, because  nearly 80% of the United State’s hop crop is grown there.

And for those of you who don’t drink brewskies (aka beer and/or ale) hops, well, specifically, the hop flowers that grow on the vines are one of the four key ingredients used in the liquid gold.
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I wrote an article about Yakima’s hops that appears in today’s Seattle Times, so I won’t tell you any more than to click on the link to the paper.  Even if you don’t read what I wrote, be sure to check out the photos as the paper’s photographer did a spectacular job and they created a great map that you could use should you find yourself ‘hop-ing’ through the Valley as I did.


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