Saturday, July 21, 2007

Have you seen any hops?

With all the microbreweries that the Northwest is famous for, I've often wondered where all the hops comes from and what it looks like. Well, I wonder no longer. It turns out that a large portion of the high-quality hops used all over the world to make beer cames from the Yakima valley in Washington State. While we were visiting family friends there, we took a drive through the agricultural valley and passed field after field of hops towering on cables that are strewn above the fields. This is what it looks like:

The part that is harvested is the flower bud - they are green and kind of look like a cross between a bell and a pine cone. In Toppenish, WA, there is a hops museum which we perused in about an hour. There was some interesting information about how hops is used both medicinally and in beer production, and the history of hops agriculture in the valley. But, not as interestingly to me, most of the museum was old equipment that they used to use in hops farming.

Toppenish is also the "City of Murals". I don't remember how many murals there are, but they paint a new one each year. You can see that there are murals painted on the hops museum as well.


gmj said...

they use to grow lots of hops in and around Woodburn. I think they stink. very sticky stuff. Love the museum photo!

Priscilla said...

I love murals! "Lets go to the hop!"

kristina said...

I love the "stinky" hops. Christopher took us to see hop fields. I really enjoyed that. I had never seen vineyards either. Hops are vines - does that make it a vineyard too? or just grapes? Anyway, that was great.

Pablo said...

Hi Tracy, Kate here (Pablo's mum... I will make myself a blogger id one day!). My sister used to live in an area of Tasmania where hops were grown, so I've seen hop fields like these before.I've always loved the look of the hop fields! My sister even did a few seasons helping out with the hop harvest. It played havoc with her asthma and allergies! Hey, can you get Tasmanian beer over there? It's pretty famous. Cascade and Boag's are our big brands. Cascade is produced down here in the south and Boag's in the north. One has to maintain a loyalty to one of these beers based on one's location. Which is hard, cause I live in the south but grew up in the north! I do prefer Cascade, though I'm not a massive beer drinker. Hope you enjoyed your trip!