In Washington State, hops are grown commercially only in the Yakima Valley, supplying over 75% of the hops in the USA.
The Annual Fresh Hop Ale Festival, celebrates fresh picked hops made into fresh hop ale. These hops are part of the Yakima Valleys rich agricultural heritage grown by 3rd, 4th and 5th generation family farmers.
This event showcases the fresh hop ale with a competition for brewers, produced with fresh hops from the Yakima Valley. Every year the event takes place in front of the historic Capital Theater in downtown Yakima, starting at 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Fresh hop cones grown and harvested in the Yakima Valley, instead of dried and/or pelleted hops, are used by competing brewers to capture the herbal, grassy characteristic only available in a freshly-picked hop. The fresh hop ale’s requirement that Yakima Valley hops must travel from the vine to the brewing vat in less than 24 hours.
Enjoy a brewers dinner, there are still a few tickets left. Sample from the participating breweries competing for the Commercial Brewers Fresh Hop Ale Awards and decide which you like best. Dance to live music, purchase dinner from one of the many restaurants in downtown Yakima of one of the food booths (cash only) at the event and enjoy the Downtown Yakima ambiance. For those whose palate cannot appreciate the hoppy beverage, there will be wine from Yakima Valley wineries and Tieton Cider Works cider.
All proceeds support the Allied Arts of Yakima Valley’s community arts programs. Hotels within easy walking distance of this event in Downtown Yakima are the Hilton Garden Inn, Red Lion Hotel, Holiday Inn at Downtown Yakima Convention Center, Howard Johnson Hotel, Holiday Inn Express, and Guest House International, formerly the Cedar Suites.
Annual Home Brewing Contest : Home-brewed Fresh Hop Ale in the competition for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place. The brews were judged in September and the top three winners will be revealed on Saturday night at the festival! Make plans for putting your brew to the test next year.
This is what the hop harvest is all about:
Hop Harvest Video:
Hop harvest starts in late August and at that time the vine at the base of each plant is cut, then the top of the vine is cut from the 18 foot high wire, falling into the truck at an approximate pace of an acre an hour. The cut vines are brought to the processing facility and lifted onto a series of conveyor belts that separate the hop cones from the leaves and vines.
The cones contain 80 percent water and would rot or mold quickly if they were not spread across a kiln, heated with natural gas burners, and allowed to dry for 10 hours in the huge drying room. After drying, the cones contain about nine percent moisture. They are dumped onto another conveyor belt sending them to a warehouse where they are poured and compressed into 200-pound burlap bags to be ground into powder. The burlap bags are shipped to a processing plant, to be made into pellets, liquid extract, or sold to a broker, who markets the hops to breweries. The process from field to truck takes 24 hours.
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