Mark your calendar for hop country festivities
The hops are busy twining and climbing to become your next favorite beer. If you haven’t taken a drive among the lush hop fields all around the Yakima Valley, do it now because harvest is on the horizon. Hop harvest is a quick, crazy time to get the hops out of the fields at the perfect time. The air around the valley will be filled with the aromas of hops and newly crafted fresh hop ales will flow with abundance at local breweries. You’ll feel the excitement as brewers from around the world descend on the valley for hop selection to craft the very best beers.
This is the time of year to immerse yourself in everything hop country. Plan a trip for hop country views and be sure to mark your calendar for all the hop country fall festivities to come.
So, what to do during fresh hop season? Check out what’s already on the calendar through the end of summer and keep an eye on our hop country events page as more and more festivities are added heading into harvest. Here are some highlights.
Fresh Hop Ales at the Source
You don’t have to wait for Fresh Hop Ale Festival for fresh hop experiences! Local taprooms at the 21 stops on the Hop Country Craft Beer Trail will be eagerly tapping kegs of their many fresh hop ales crafted from hops harvested just minutes away. Breweries will be announcing celebratory fresh hop release parties throughout the season, complete with live music, great food and other special activities. Watch our event listings throughout the season and stop by for a taste while you wait for the main event!
Hop Country Music Festival featuring Cole Swindell
Right at the beginning of harvest season, there’s something new coming to the Valley! The inaugural, two-day Hop Country Music Festival, September 9 and 10, is a must-see. Multi-platinum, award-winning artist, Cole Swindell leads the lineup of other fantastic performers. The Friday evening pre-funk features Generation Radio made up of music legends the likes of two-time Grammy Award winning Jay Demarcus of Rascal Flatts, Chicago’s Jason Scheff and Steve Ferrone of Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers. Plan your trip for a weekend of great music, food and fun. Of course, leave time to explore the Hop Country Craft Beer Trail.
Fresh Hop Ale Festival
Here in the heart of hop country, every single hop cone gets harvested and processed over the span of 30 crazy days in September. It all culminates with the Yakima Valley’s signature Fresh Hop Ale Festival, one of the “Top 10 Beer Festivals in The Nation!” On Saturday, October 8, more than 60 brewers from around the west and beyond descend upon downtown Yakima to compete for top honors with fresh hop ales crafted specifically for the festival using only freshly harvested hops. It’s a one-of-a kind craft beer festival just made for beer lovers! Also enjoy wine, ciders, local flavors from food trucks and vendors, live music and fun activities. Best of all, this is a vehicle for community enrichment and positive social change, with proceeds donated to Yakima Country arts and sciences organizations.
Fresh Hop Festivities All Week Long!
You don’t have to wait for the festival to enjoy fresh hop experiences! In the week leading up to the festival, enjoy all sorts of hop country experiences. In addition to release parties, watch our calendar for hop sensory experiences where you explore the aromas and flavors of freshly harvested hops, along with the brews they create. Make your own hop crown, tour hop fields, get behind the scenes looks at local breweries and more during the week leading up to the Fresh Hop Ale Festival. Make time to visit the American Hop Museum to learn about the history of the American hop industry, from its early days in the colonies to the Pacific Northwest and, especially, the Yakima Valley where we now grow 70 percent of U.S. hops.
Take a Ride Through Hop Country
On Sunday, September 24, join Varietal Beer Co. for the Harvest 100 Century Ride, a 100-mile ride through hop yards, vineyards, and more – all as the valley works hard to harvest the season’s best. The ride begins and ends at Varietal Beer Co. in Sunnyside for celebratory brews and bites.
Reserve your spot on The Little Hopper – Yakima’s craft beer bus! Sign up for their hop-on-hop-off tours. The busses travel a variety of loops from brewery to brewery. You choose your starting point and hop on and off to spend about an hour at each stop. You can also schedule custom group tours, as well as winery tours.
Watch our event listings to celebrate with pre and post fresh hop parties the weekend of Fresh Hop Ale Festial for fun before and after the main event!