Crosby Hop Farm has been helping cultivate the heart of America’s hop growing region for 120 years in Oregon’s Willamette Valley. About 45 minutes outside of Portland, the 420-acre farm and processing facility is a fifth-generation family business, and that family serves some of the most famous craft beer brands in America — from Bell’s to Sweetwater. The farm itself is just a majestic destination. I’ve personally visited Crosby Hop Farm during harvest season, mingling with brewers at its annual hop festival, and it’s still one of those pivotal experiences that I always cite when people ask me what cool stuff I get to do in the brewing industry.
Well now, you can do it too. Well, soon! Coming summer 2020, Crosby Hop Farm in Woodburn, Ore., will open TopWire Hop Project — a one-of-a-kind beer garden experience featuring beers from breweries that use Crosby-sold hops. It’s the vision of Blake Crosby, CEO.
“The idea has percolated in the back of my mind for years,” said Crosby. “I always wanted to do something to tie our agricultural experience to the beer-drinking consumer. I know some have successfully done this by starting breweries on hop farms, which is great, but I ultimately wanted to do something that also supported the brewers that buy our hops. Our business is hops, and we have a clear focus on that. Given our proximity to Portland, one key benefit of TopWire is the unique opportunity to educate the greater community on world-class beer and agriculture. TopWire represents a big next step in telling our story.”
The TopWire Hop Project beer garden is being constructed out of a large shipping container, and there will be a spacious outdoor area featuring a large patio where people of all ages and dogs on a leash can relax with a beverage and a beautiful view.
“The beer garden is constructed out of a large 40-ft shipping container situated in the middle of our Centennial field,” explained Jenna Steward, brand experience specialist at Crosby Hop Farm. “Inside the shipping container there is a bar, a cooler for beer to go and a booth seating area. When you arrive, prepare to be surrounded by hops on all three sides and catch a glimpse of our production facility, as well as Mt. Hood, the highest mountain in Oregon. The space has a modern, elegant architectural approach and urban drinking aesthetic. The spacious outdoor area features a giant grassy space where you can enjoy beer and numerous lawn games.”
Crosby Hop Farm has been growing on the same site (420 acres right now) since 1900 with five different generations of the Crosby family. The farm not only grows and processes hops, it’s also a broker for premium hops from around the world. It offers more than 75 varieties including sustainable Crosby grown, Salmon-Safe organic hops from its farm, which is also a Certified B Corporation that was named a Best for the World: Changemaker last year. It’s also just Oregon beautiful, so it’s cool TopWire will offer daily tours of the operations.
“I love to show people the whole process and witness their reaction when it’s their first time to hop harvest. It’s priceless,” said Blake.
As far as the beer experience, the TopWire Hop Project tap list will feature collaborations brewed by Crosby Hops’ customers from around the world, including many of the most well-known craft brewers, showcasing new, classic and novel hop varieties from the farm.
“There is a huge potential to educate consumers on where hops come from, what characteristics you get from different hop varieties and how they taste in beer,” explained Steward. “More and more we see brewers starting to call out what hops they use in their beers and consumers are catching on. Hops have a huge impact on the flavor of beer, and that can help consumers decide which beers they like to drink. For example, an IPA with Amarillo and Centennial is going to taste completely different than an IPA with El Dorado and Idaho 7, even if the malt profile and yeast is the same.”
TopWire is positioned to be a key beer destination in the region and a valuable gathering place for the community near and far.
“We are excited about the endless creative and collaborative potential that will come with opening this summer,” said Steward.