YAKIMA, WA–One of the best ways to understand the growth in popularity of Northwest craft beer is to explore the homeland of hops—the Yakima Valley. Hops provide both aroma and flavor to beer: they’re crucial to the brewing process. How can you honor this important ingredient? Attend the 6th annual Fresh Hop Ale Festival on Saturday October 4th, which celebrates the fact that 77% of the total U.S. hop crop is grown right here!
There’s a lot to love at this year’s 6th annual Fresh Hop Ale Festival. You’ll be able to try all the award-winning Fresh Hop Ales (and ambers, hefeweizens, stouts and more), plus local food & fine wines, a cigar tent & dancin’ in the streets to Jimmy Buffet inspired band, The Blue Tropics and local rock-n-roll favorites, The Shreds! You can even extend your weekend: Friday night, October 3rd, downtown restaurants will host several brewer’s dinners, featuring brew & food pairings created by pairs of brewers and local restaurateurs.
Besides the bounty of its hop harvest, Yakima claims some of the craft brewing industry’s roots: the original home of America’s first post-prohibition brewpub. As beers like ales, stouts and hefeweizens continue to gain popularity, Yakima is the place to position yourself at the front of this brewing trend. According to the Brewers Association, craft beer industry sales have grown 31.5% over the last 3 years—making it one of the fastest growing alcohol beverage categories.
For a brew to be considered a “fresh hop ale” for the festival competition, it must be produced with hops that were picked no more than 24 hours prior to brewing (talk about overnight shipping!). Fresh Hop Ale is produced throughout the month of September, timing dependent on the growth of each year’s hop harvest. Brewers then bring their freshly brewed kegs of beer to the fest, where a panel of judges selects first, second and third place Fresh Hop Ales. Festival-goers vote with their taste buds— a “Most Pours Award” crowns the crowd favorite.
Home-brewers will also be competing at this year’s festival. According to the American Homebrewers Association, there are currently 1.2 million home brewers in the country, and growing. These passionate individuals are in pursuit of superior aroma, color, body and flavor, and we’ll award the most successful of the bunch! Local home-brewing club members will submit fresh hop ales to judges during a session prior to the festival. We’ll announce the winners during the event, where you’ll also be able to experience an on site homebrewing demo.
Come to the source: Saturday, October 4, 2008, 6pm-11pm (21 and over only, ID required) at the Millennium Arts Plaza in Downtown Yakima. Tickets are $30 in advance, or $35 at the gate (includes glassware & $6 scrip). Or, get 10 of your closest friends together for a VIP table, featuring gourmet hors d’oeuvres, an artist-designed collectible pint glass for all, $100 in scrip, VIP parking, a place to rest your dancin’ feet, plus a chance to be a homebrew competition judge. All for only $600. Sponsorship opportunities are also available—starting at only $500! All Festival proceeds benefit Allied Arts of Yakima Valley (est. 1962)—a nonprofit organization dedicated to the coordination and promotion of arts events and programs in the Valley.
Call (509) 966-0930 for ticket or sponsorship info. Learn more about the event & buy tickets online at www.freshhopalefestival.com