Bale Breaker’s location on the family hop farm, Loftus Ranches, offers proximity and access to hops of which many brewers could only dream. Brewmaster Kevin Smith shares perspective on brewing hop-forward beers, gleaned from decades growing up on—and now brewing on—the farm.
Jamie Bogner Oct 1, 2022 - 5 min read
Brewers and hop growers are more connected today than ever, but Bale Breaker—in the Yakima Valley town of Moxee—takes that proximity to a level rarely seen in beer. The brewery literally sits on the Loftus Ranch, in the middle of a hop field, with trellises and bines surrounding the production brewery and taproom. Trellises surround the taproom patio. Trellises stretch out from the parking lot. Hops are everywhere, so it’s no surprise that Bale Breaker focuses on hop-forward beers.
Brewmaster Kevin Smith started his brewing career on the other side of the Cascade Range, in Seattle, before returning to the family farm and joining with his sister and brother-in-law to launch the brewery. Through Bale Breaker, he’s been able to showcase a hop-forward identity that embraces the crop that he grew up with. Hoppy West Coast and hazy beers are the brewer’s forte, and in this episode, Smith stays focused on hops. He discusses:
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Jamie Bogner is the Cofounder and Editorial Director of Craft Beer & Brewing Magazine®. Email him at [email protected] .
Eric and Claire Desmarais, fourth and fifth generation hop farmers, and Alex Nowell, former director of brewing for Three Weavers and an advisor to CLS, dig into the recent evolution of hop farming, current harvest challenges, and tools that brewers can use to select better hops.
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