Yakima Chief Hops, a global hop supplier, in partnership with Bale Breaker Brewing Co., hosted a special brew day for a group of local first responders and military veterans on Feb. 13, 2020 in Yakima, Washington. Using YCH’s Veterans Blend as the main ingredient, the event was intended to celebrate and give back to some of the community’s finest.
“We wanted to create an event for our military veterans that are currently first responders to show our appreciation for not only serving our country but also protecting our community,” said Victoria Garza, YCH’s Latin America sales manager, who helped organize the event. “Sharing our hop knowledge and brewing side by side with our community’s finest was a memorable moment for all of us, and we are honored to have had the opportunity to collaborate with them.”
Last year, YCH reached out to Yakima’s first responder groups, including the fire department, police department, training center and sheriff’s office, seeking members that are also military veterans and inviting them to an exclusive brew day.
The brew day included a tour of YCH facilities where participants learned how hop products are produced. Afterwards the attendees joined Brewmaster Kevin Smith at Bale Breaker to lend a hand in brewing beer with YCH’s Veterans Blend. Along the way, they met other military veterans including Rich Leendertsen, YCH’s facilities manager; Pat Smith, a local hop grower and YCH grower owner; and Mike Riley and Dave Fiskland of Bale Breaker Brewing Company.
“Hosting Yakima’s first responders and fellow veterans was a day full of swapping stories and bonding over some cold ones,” said Dave Fiskland, BBBC packaging tech. “It was cool to connect with fellow veterans and share our passion for making great beer and serving our community together.”
The YCH Veterans Blend is a special blend of hops created in an effort to show support and appreciation for the men and women of the US military. $3 per pound sold is contributed to a different nonprofit each year in support of the veteran community. This year, proceeds will be donated to the Wounded Warrior Family Support fund. Each year, a new blend is selected by collaborating with veteran brewers representing multiple branches of the US Armed Forces, working to connect military heroes from field to pint.
During the event, the participants brewed a beer, set to be released on this Friday at Bale Breaker. It is a dry-hopped pale ale with a dry finish complemented by a smooth mouthfeel and an intriguing blend of grapefruit, lime, coconut and tropical fruit aromas. Community members, along with the media, are invited to attend the exclusive taproom release from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. as they tap the first keg.