A Different Location for the Same Great Event, October 3rd
Yakima Fresh Hop Ale Festival is more than a beer festival, but it is an exceedingly good one of those, too. Washington’s Yakima Valley, which produces roughly 75 percent of the nation’s annual hop crop, hops are a way of life and not merely a beer ingredient. Brewers around the globe recognize Yakima as the undisputed hop capital of the nation, if not the world. In this place, hops are industry and also an integral part of the community. Hops are history. Hops are family. Nowhere is the splendor of this simple little flower better displayed, or more vehemently honored, than the annual Fresh Hop Ale Festival in Yakima. (Tickets on sale now.)
As beer aficionados already know, fresh hop refers to beers brewed using freshly harvested hops. The goal is to use the hops within 24 hours of harvest, straight off the bine (yes, bine and not vine), before the hops are kiln dried and processed. Hops are harvested just once per year, in the late summer and the early fall, so fresh hop beer is truly a seasonal treat. More than that, it is symbolic. An homage to the bountiful harvest. Drinking fresh hop beer is a ritual. Drinking it in Yakima is a pilgrimage.
Yes, there are other beer festivals focused on fresh hop beers, but they do not take place in Yakima, at the source. They do not attract professional brewers from around the world the way Yakima does during the harvest season. At those other festivals, you will taste some fine beers, but at Yakima Fresh Hop Ale Festival you get to drink beautiful fresh hop beers alongside hop farmers whose families have grown hops in the valley for generations. In some cases, since the 1800s. You’ll share the fresh hop experience with the people who harvest, process and supply hops to breweries around the world.
After skipping last year because of you-know-what, Yakima Fresh Hop Ale Festival makes its triumphant return on October 2, 2021. To accommodate the current circumstances, the event has moved to a new location. It offers more space for distancing and otherwise accommodates the necessary precautions.
In the future, organizers plan to move the festival back downtown, but this year the event takes place at SOZO Sports Complex, about 7 miles southwest of downtown Yakima, providing plenty of room to spread out a blanket, relax on the lawn, and enjoy some of the best beer in the world. Shuttle busses will provide transportation to/from downtown hotels.
In addition to fresh hop beers from over 70 breweries, Yakima Fresh Hop Ale Festival offers libations from wineries and cideries, as well as great food and live music. Each of the participating breweries submits one beer to the official tasting competition, where a panel of beer experts and hop experts evaluate each beer, with highly coveted awards presented to the winning breweries during the festival.
The event is produced by The Fresh Hop Group, a non-profit organization specifically built for the purpose of running this event and awarding grants to a whole bunch of local arts and science programs. Proceeds from the festival are dedicated exclusively to that purpose. In 2019, The Fresh Hop Group awarded grants to over 30 programs in the Yakima area.
Tickets for Yakima Fresh Hop Ale Festival are on sale now. Do not delay. This is a popular event, as it deserves to be.
Yakima Fresh Hop Ale Festival
Saturday, October 2nd
5:00 – 10:00
SOZO Sports Complex
2200 South 36th Avenue
Yakima, WA 98903