Hop Harvest is one of the most important times of the year for us at John I. Haas. This fall, we decided to ask some industry leaders to tell us why they think it’s worth traveling to Yakima, Washington each and every year. Here’s what we heard.
1. Experiment(al) with something new
What hop varieties are being developed for your next great beer? The best way to find out is to visit the Haas experimental hop fields and talk to Michael Ferguson, our hop breeder. His mission to be the ultimate hop matchmaker, arranging marriages for the betterment of the Humulus lupulus gene pool—and bringing forth beautiful and unique offspring. Few things are more inspiring than walking through the “Field of Dreams” and exploring the birthplace of Citra®, Mosaic®, Ekuanot™ and Loral™.
2. See where your hops come from
At Haas, we are constantly on the road visiting breweries all over the world to see how you continue to produce so many amazing beers. Why not see firsthand what your suppliers are working on and how they provide you with top-quality hops? See our processing facilities in action, taste beers made with experimental hops and, if you’re a beer geek like us, spend some time with our technical team to share ideas.
3. Test drive your hops
Brewers are hands-on people and many love having the opportunity to “test drive” their hops before they purchase. It’s a time-honored practice that has been drawing brewers to Yakima for decades…a chance to evaluate the quality and aroma of this valued brewing ingredient, ensuring that the lots to be purchased are true-to-type for the varieties used in your brewing formulations. Here you will be presented with a selection of grower lots to give an enthusiastic thumbs-up, and perhaps having your hop lots combined and pelleted for added consistency.
4. Meet your fellow brewers
Beer is all about community. At Hop Harvest, you have the opportunity to network with your peers and build relationships with colleagues from across the country, and around the world. Yakima is a great place to make those connections—and the iconic Sportscenter watering hole is a must! You never know what opportunities will present themselves once you kick back after hours with others from the brewing world.
5. Explore new hop products
There’s a lot of innovative thinking going on when it comes to improving hopping effectiveness and efficiency. Whether your philosophies revolve around traditional hopping with whole hops and pellets—or if you’re exploring the benefits of CO2 hop extract to reduce your beer losses—there’s plenty to consider. And when it comes to improving aroma and flavor, our hop technology is in high gear. At Hop Harvest you can stay on top of the latest breakthroughs in brewing and beyond from industry experts.
6. Enjoy the great Pacific Northwest
We know we said 5 reasons, but this one is a bonus all around. The Cascade and Olympic Mountains. Incredible coastlines and rivers. Hiking, fishing, beer and wine tasting. From amateur to expert, it’s all here in Washington and Oregon. Why not take some extra time from your home base to explore the scenic adventures and brewing meccas of Seattle, Portland, Bend, Hood River… the list goes on and on.
Even though the 2016 Hop Harvest may be over, it’s never too early to start making plans for 2017. If you’d like to schedule a visit, just give us a call. We look forward to seeing you in Yakima (and, of course, at the Sportscenter) next fall.