The smoke from all those wildfires in Oregon, Washington and Idaho had to go somewhere. All it took was a change in wind direction and the smoke came pouring down the Columbia River Gorge into Western Oregon. Portland smelled like a gigantic smoldering charcoal. In just hours, the smoke flowed all the way down to Rogue Farms in Independence, casting a pinkish hue over the hopyard. The last thing we wanted was for our pickers to get sickened by the heat and smoke, so we suspended the harvest for the rest of day. Not even our Brewery, Distillery and Cooperage in Newport was spared. The next morning our fellow Rogues on the Oregon Coast woke up to a beautiful, but eerie sunrise.
Despite the unusual summer of heat, fires and smoke — in the end it all worked out just fine. Our hops did well and we’re expecting a bigger harvest than last year. The heat and drought brought down the yields of our malting barley, but we knew we were getting a smaller crop anyway. Last year’s harvest was our biggest ever and would’ve been hard to repeat even in the best of conditions. As if to remind us that everything was going to be okay, Maier showed up one day and began sniffing around the farm. He was there to pick out the hops he wanted to use to brew this year’s batch of Wet Hop Ale.
When the Yaquina hops he wanted came in from the hop yard, we set aside 999 pounds of fresh cones just for him.
The 2015 batch of Rogue Farms Wet Hop Ale is particularly important to us and to Maier. It’s his 19,000th brew since joining Rogue Ales and Spirits 27 years ago. We wanted to make it special for him, and he wanted to make it special for all the craft beer fans who walk through the doors of Rogue Meeting Halls.
That’s what it’s all about for us at Rogue Farms. Facing the risks that come with farming and growing your own ingredients is not the easiest nor the cheapest way of doing things. But it is the Revolutionary way. It’s why we’re dedicated to growing world class beers, spirits, ciders and sodas from ground to glass.