All across the U.S., September is many people’s favorite month of the year. And it’s no surprise; the dog days of the summer finally give way to crisp nights and beautifully dry, sunny weather. Here in Yakima, the heart of the world’s largest hop growing area, September is especially golden—actually, a rich, golden green. It’s hop harvest time; a period of anticipation and excitement for those of us intimately involved and deeply passionate about what it takes to craft incredible beers.
The six-week harvest ramps up during the waning weeks of August and continues on through September. It’s the culmination of a long year of planning, planting and babying our beloved hops. There’s tons of activity during the harvest with farm operations in full swing for hop take-in and hop quality evaluations. But the highlight of the month for us here at Haas is when the brewers’ begin their annual visits.
In years past, Haas has always enjoyed welcoming interested brewers to our farms and facilities each September. As the number of U.S. brewers approaches 4,000, the yearly trek to Yakima has boomed. Many of our customers will be visiting the Haas facilities this year during harvest. It’s a fun, busy and sometimes hectic time of year—but it’s exciting that so many brewers put as much focus on great hops as we do. We do everything we can to make sure they have a great experience while they’re here.
Speaking for all of us at Haas—the farm and processing team, the sales team, and the technical and leadership groups—it’s almost impossible to over-emphasize how much we value the personal, trusting relationships forged during the brewers’ visits. Maybe for some, the visit to the hop fields and operations is more of a necessity; part of their job. But, when it comes to the vast majority of brewers I share time with, I get the sense that it’s much more. A welcomed break from the day to day. A chance to learn (and taste!) something new. And, maybe most of all, a festive celebration of the science, art and craft of brewing!