A Journey Into Hop Farming and the Future of Flavor in the Pacific Northwest
During the 2021 hop harvest season, Brewmaster Matt Brynildson made his annual pilgrimage to Washington’s Yakima Valley in search of what he calls “the future of flavor.”
The story of that harvest is ready to be told by our original short film, “Hop Dreams: A Brewer’s Journey.” Hit play below to stream it now.
“Hop Dreams” follows Matt, Propagator Brewing Manager Sam Tierney, and Raw Materials Manager Tim Miller as they walk the fields in search of new hops that will help drive Firestone Walker’s next great IPA. Along the way, the film showcases the people, heritage, and innovations that drive one of the world’s most important and prolific hop-growing regions.
“The bottom line is: no farmers, no beer,” Matt says in the film. “We have nothing but high regard and praise for these people who work so hard for our beers.”
Fittingly, the release of this film follows last week’s news about Matt being awarded the Order of the Hop, a prestigious international honor reserved for those who have had an outsized impact on the world of hops.
From Raw Materials To Liquid Magic
Over the years, Matt has formed friendships and connections with a variety of Yakima Valley growers who are setting the pace for new-age IPA hops. His annual journey to the region is no rote exercise–it’s a quest for continual inspiration and innovation.
“Hop Dreams” features growers such as 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. In the film, Matt journeys to Haas Yakima Golding Hop Farm and Perrault Farms, and it follows Yakima Chief‘s Director of Brewing Innovation Blaze Rudd as he explains the groundbreaking qualities of their Cryo Hops®, which are made by collecting the concentrated lupulin from the whole-leaf hops.
“We come to Yakima every year so that we can see what’s coming down the pipe, and it’s the catalyst for all of this new, interesting, and exciting stuff happening in beer and hops,” Matt says. “Sometimes we’ll come out here, and we’ll rub and smell a hop, and it just sparks an idea.”
During the 2021 hop harvest, the big idea became Hopnosis, the new-age West Coast IPA that we launched earlier this year.
“Hop Dreams” ultimately unveils how Matt’s relationships with some of the world’s top hop growers are Firestone Walker’s secret ingredient behind beers like Hopnosis–from soil to sunlight, conception to reality, raw materials to liquid magic.
“Hopnosis is all of these things in one can of beer,” Matt concludes. “It’s the nomadic exploration, the passion, the search, the innovation and dedication of each and every person who lives for beer.