Photos courtesy of Ingrid Barrentine / Alaska Airlines

Fresh Hops Fly: Bringing Fresh Hop Beers to Alaska and Hawaii

by | Oct 3, 2022

This year, Bale Breaker Brewing Company partnered with Alaska Air Cargo and Yakima Chief Hops to bring fresh hops to Alaska and Hawaii for the first time, brewing collaboration fresh hop beers with Maui Brewing Co. and 49th State Brewing.

Yakima, Wash. – for immediate release  – Fresh hop season is a mythical time in the Pacific Northwest. Beer lovers from all over the world come out to taste these delicious beers that are only available within a tiny window of time. Yakima is the center of the fresh hop universe: 73% of the nation’s hops are grown in the Yakima Valley, and are only harvested within a one month period every September. Fresh hop beers are rarely found outside of the PNW due to the nature of these fragrant beers – they’re much easier to brew, logistically, for brewers within driving distance of hop farms – but this year by partnering with Alaska Air Cargo and Yakima Chief Hops , Bale Breaker Brewing Company was able to fly thousands of pounds of fresh hops from their family hop farm, Loftus Ranches, to Maui Brewing Co.. in Kihei, Maui and 49th State Brewing in Anchorage, Alaska, going from hop farm to brewery kettle within 24 hours.

This logistical achievement is a potential game-changer for the craft beer industry, allowing breweries farther away from the hop farms of the PNW to access fresh hops within the crucial first 24 hours after harvesting, when they are best used in fresh hop beers.

The brew days were true collaborations – Bale Breaker co-owner Kevin Quinn flew to Hawaii to brew with Maui Brewing Co. and pass on some fresh hop knowledge, and Quinn and Bale Breaker co-owner Kevin Smith flew to Alaska to brew with 49th State Brewing. The Bale Breaker brewers are some of the most knowledgeable fresh hop brewers in the business, as Bale Breaker is uniquely positioned on their 4th generation hop farm, and the only brewery of their size to grow 100% of their hops. Hops are in this family’s DNA and they were thrilled to join this fun collaboration to pass on their knowledge.

About the beers: In October, guests at Alaska lounges in Seattle, Portland, and Anchorage airports will have the chance to try fresh hop beers from the breweries.

Bale Breaker: there are several fresh hop beers available at both Bale Breaker’s Yakima and Seattle taprooms. Homegrown Fresh Hop IPA and Citra Slicker Wet Hop IPA will be available in the Alaska lounges in Sea-Tac and Portland International Airport, as well as available on draft and in 16oz 4pks throughout their distribution footprint in WA, OR, and ID.

Maui Brewing Co.: Hop Cargo Fresh Hop IPA will be available at the Alaska Lounge in Sea-Tac, as well as on draft at the flagship brewery in Kihei, Maui.

49th State Brewing: Freshial Delivery Hazy Fresh Hop IPA will be available at the Alaska Lounge in Anchorage International Airport, as well as on draft and in 16oz 4pks at the Downtown Anchorage Pub and at select liquor stores and restaurants across the state of Alaska.

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