Hops are the floral element in beer, and he who farms the best hops wins the hearts of passionate beer makers and drinkers—for instance, the people who work for California brewery, Firestone Walker.
The brewery has made a short film that celebrates the brewer’s journey and the agricultural roots of beer. The film follows Brewmaster Matt Brynildson, Propagator Brewing Manager Sam Tierney, and Raw Materials Manager Tim Miller as they make their annual pilgrimage to Yakima Valley in central Washington to source hops for Firestone Walker.
Brynildson says in the film. “We have nothing but high regard and praise for the farmers who work so hard for our beers.” One of the farmers in the film is Graham Gamache of Cornerstone Ranches, a fifth-generation farm that produces the Cashmere hops featured in notable Firestone Walker IPAs, including Hopnosis and Mind Haze.
Over the years, Brynildson has formed friendships and connections with a variety of Yakima Valley growers who are setting the pace for new-age IPA hops. He notes, “Sometimes we’ll come out here, and we’ll rub and smell a hop, and it just sparks an idea.”
In fact, it was precisely this hop harvest journey to Yakima Valley that inspired Hopnosis, the West Coast IPA that Firestone Walker launched earlier this year.