Beer geeks know that the Yakima Valley in Washington state is the main hop-growing region of the United States.
But what I didn’t know is the region wasn’t naturally suited for hop growing. It’s actually a desert climate and requires lots of irrigation to get things to grow.
People started planting hops there back in 1872, which surprises me because I tend to think of hops harvesting as a relatively modern. Which is, of course, stupid because I know brewers have been using hops for a while now. On top of that, the hop plant is apparently one that can produce a harvest in its first year, something which would no doubt be very appealing to any farmer.
Speaking of harvests, about 75 per cent of the total amount of the hop harvest comes from the Yakima Valley, which really makes you wonder what the US brewers would do if there was a really, really bad season up at Yakima Valley.
What’s the go here?: For those who have just stumbled across this post, I’m going through the Oxford Companion to Beer (OCB) and posting an entry for every letter. Why? Because I have a copy at home but hadn’t really gone through it page by page and I figured this would be an exercise that would force me to do that.