The Fresh Hop Ale Festival, held during the first weekend of October at Millenium Plaza in Yakima, Washington, is gaining popularity from brewmasters, hop growers and beer lovers from all over the world. Currently featuring breweries from the western United States, including Washington, Oregon, Montana, Idaho, and California, this is not your usual beer festival.
Here\'s the deal: to create a \"fresh hop ale\" brewers must get \"wet\" Yakima hops (which provide aroma and flavor to beer) from the vine to the vat within 24 hours to create the headlining ale. The Yakima Valley should be a priority stop for anyone interested in coming to beer\'s \"source\" -- the Valley produces almost 77% of America\'s hops used for brewing. Also celebrating brews and food pairings, there are Brewer\'s Dinners held at local restaurants the evening before the festival.
Proceeds from the festival benefit a local non-profit, Allied Arts of Yakima Valley. You can support Allied Arts further by purchasing a hand-painted pint, but your ticket includes a commemorative pint glass and scrip for tastings. A street dance with live music takes place right in front of the historic and beautiful Capitol Theatre
Local eateries sell food on site for cash only, but many restaurants surround the festival including Yakima Sports Center (www.yakimasportscenter.com) right next door. Wine from several area wineries is also available at the festival for beer intolerant guests. This is a 21 and over event. Pay a visit to the website and plan a weekend trip to the Yakima Valley!