Filmed during the 2021 hop harvest in Washington’s Yakima Valley, Hop Dreams follows Brewmaster Matt Brynildson, Propagator Brewing Manager Sam Tierney and Raw Materials Manager Tim Miller as they make their annual pilgrimage to the hop capitol of the world. It is there where they wander the hop fields searching for the perfect hop variety to use in forthcoming Firestone Walker beers.
Along the way, the film showcases the people, heritage and innovations that drive one of the world’s most important and prolific hop-growing regions. Hop Dreams culminates with the creation of the brewery’s Hopnosis IPA that utilizes Yakima Chief’s Cryo Hops.
“The bottom line is: no farmers, no beer,” Brynildson says in the film. “We have nothing but high regard and praise for these people who work so hard for our beers.”
Over the years, Brynildson has formed friendships and connections with a variety of Yakima Valley growers who are setting the pace for new-age IPA hops. As he notes, “We come to Yakima every year so that we can see what’s coming down the pipe, and it’s the catalyst for all of this new, interesting and exciting stuff happening in beer and hops…Sometimes we’ll come out here, and we’ll rub and smell a hop, and it just sparks an idea.”
In fact, it was precisely this hop harvest journey to Yakima Valley that inspired Hopnosis, the innovative West Coast IPA that Firestone Walker launched earlier this year.
Hop Dreams features Yakima farmer, Graham Gamache of Cornerstone Ranches, a fifth- generation farm. His farm produces the Cashmere hops featured in Firestone Walker’s Hopnosis and Mind Haze. The film also follows Director of Brewing Innovation Blaze Ruud as he explains the groundbreaking qualities of Yakima Chief’s Mosaic Cryo Hops, which are made by collecting the concentrated lupulin from whole-leaf hops.
“Hop Dreams” ultimately reveals how these relationships with some of the world’s top hop growers are Firestone Walker’s secret ingredient behind beers like Hopnosis—from soil to sunlight, conception to reality, raw material to liquid magic.
“Hopnosis is all of these things in one can of beer,” Brynildson concludes. “It’s the nomadic exploration, the passion, the search, the innovation and dedication of each and every person who lives for beer.”
D.J. is a Portland, Oregon based writer that spent his formative years in the Midwest. With over 25 years under his belt of drinking beer at festivals across America and the world, he has developed a strong appreciation and understanding of craft beer and the industry that surrounds it. He can be found in any of the great breweries or beer bars that make Portland the best beer city in the world. His writing can also be found in the archives of Northwest Brewing News and can be followed on Twitter and Instagram at @hopapalooza.