Known for its over 100 wineries and 13,000 acres of vineyards, the same excellent growing conditions in the Yakima Valley in Washington State produce 78% of the nation’s hops for breweries and world-renowned fruits for cideries and distilleries. Sip your favorite craft creations amongst the fields, vineyards and orchards where their ingredients are actually grown. Learn about the Valley’s volcanic soils, elaborate irrigation systems, heat units and other unique growing conditions straight from the craft product makers themselves when you visit museums, tasting facilities and local restaurants serving the Valley’s craft products. source, Yakima Valley Spirits & Hops Trail

image sourced from the Fresh Hop Ale Festival,
To most goers, the beer festival is an opportunity to step away from the confinement of a restaurant or bar. It's an opportunity to coalesce with people with different social background. Although there will be occasional repartee, there will be no shortage of enjoyment inspired by the ingredients in your glass. On Saturday, October 4th, the Fresh Hop Ale Festival returns for its 12th year featuring over 35 different regional and national craft breweries.

The Fresh Hop Ale Festival has been named on of the top ten beer festivals in the country. The festival features Fresh Hop Ales from over 30 breweries, wine, food booths and music on a festival stage. source, Fresh Hop Ale Festival

More on Yakima's Hop History

The hop is a perennial climbing plant of the hemp family (Cannabinaceae). The wild hop (Humulus mas) is very different from its cultivated cousin (Humulus lupulus) which not only gives beer its aroma and bitter flavor but also preserves it. The high-quality brewer’s hop is the result of a process of cultivations spanning several centuries. As hops are used almost exclusively in brewing, this development is closely linked with the history and geographical distribution of beer.

Expanded History (for those who wish to read more) can be accessed here.

More on what makes a beer "fresh-hopped"

The addition of freshly harvested hops that have not yet been dried to different stages of the brewing process. Fresh hopping adds unique flavors and aromas to beer that are not normally found when using hops that have been dried and processed per usual. Synonymous with wet hopping.

Given some of you didn't come to Yakima for all those 'hoppy' beers, we elected to author a guide. Within this guide you will find accommodations, suggested restaurants and eateries, and recreations that are unique to the Yakima Valley. Enjoy your stay,

Where to Go - Wine (the other drink)

If communing over a glass of India Pale Ale or Pale Ale is less enjoable, there are options (both at the festival and away) within the Yakima Valley. For those who would rather enjoy a glass of chardonnay over a pint of Yakima Craft India Pale Ale, we suggest you visit one of the following tasting rooms:
  • Kana Winery
    Kana is a native word for the spirit or the fire within a mountain, in reference to the perceived supernatural power of volcanic activity. The Yakima and Columbia Valleys are awash with volcanic soil influences, providing terroir from the millennia of ”Kana“ escaping from nearby volcanic mountains, to lay resting as soil for our world-class vineyards.
    Kana Winery is located on 2nd Street at  10 S. 2nd Street (in Yakima, WA 98901) and can be reached at (509) 453-6611.
  • AntoLin
    We are a Yakima, Washington-based winery offering a boutique collection of expressive and note-worthy wines that are equally appealing in value. In 2007, founders Tony and Linda Haralson, a pharmacist and nurse in the Yakima community, turned their dreams of owning a winery into a reality after ten years of home winemaking. The couple sources Riesling, Viognier, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah from Glacier, their 5-acre estate vineyard, and other select sites in the Yakima and Columbia Valleys.AntoLin is located on Front Street at 14 North Front Street (in Yakima, WA 980901) and can be reached at (509) 833-5765.
  • Gilbert Cellars
    Here in Yakima, Washington, our ancestors chose the agrarian life in 1897. The simple joys of our rural community, and the products it bears, still speak to us today. We come from a long line of Yakima Valley fruit growers, and have chosen to honor that legacy through winemaking. We believe that what we’re doing matters—creating wines that share a place that we love. For us, winemaking is a way of life, with our work and play closely intertwined. Besides making our own wine, we like to make our own fun, hosting tastings, dinners and special events, especially when we can invite our favorite artists and musicians.
    Gilbert Cellars is located on Front Street at 5 North Front Street (in Yakima, WA 98901) and can be reached at (509) 249-9049

Getting a ride home

Before we touch on things do, places to stay, and where to eat; let's address alternate ways to get 'home'. If you're coming from a metropolitan city (like Seattle or Portland), then you've heard of Lyft or Uber. Yakima, despite it's population size, does not have ride-sharing. So instead of driving back to your hotel/motel, consider the following Taxi services.

  • Andes Taxi at (509) 249-8303
  • Diamond Cab at (509) 941-2496
  • Downtown Taxi at (509) 494-8345
  • Aladdin Limos at (509) 969-2877
Where to Go - The Great Outdoors (otherwise known as getting outside)

Despite it's topographical appearances, the Yakima Valley has ranked among anglers looking for that perfect stream. Truth be told, the Yakima River holds the reputation of support a Blue Ribbon (or High Ranked) stream.

This fabulous blue ribbon water offers the fly fishing enthusiast with a thriving trout population. Experience a match the hatch aquatic insect event as mayflies, caddisflies and stoneflies emerge throughout the season. Absorb some of Washington States most spectacular visionary scenery and encounter a variety of wild game, wild birds and plant species along the riverbanks during the day. -source,

If the sensory experience of listening to running water or smell of a fresh-caught trout isn't your thing, then consider a trip to one of the many campgrounds around the Yakima Valley.

Yakima Sportsman State Park is a 247-acre camping park created in 1940 by the Yakima Sportsman's Association to promote game management and the preservation of natural resources. The park is on the floodplain of the Yakima River and is an irrigated green zone in an otherwise desert area. The park has a variety of deciduous trees that shade camping and picnic areas.

Colorful Ducks on the Water Ducks Swimming Yakima Sportsman Park Ranger Geese in Picnic Area Yakima Sportsman River Yakima Sportsman Viewing Platform Ponds, lakes, and rivers attract fishermen, both young and adult, to this location. More than 140 species of bird make wildlife watching a delight. The campground is a stay-over place for events at the Yakima Sun-Dome and fairgrounds. source,

Here are some other, helpful, ideas from the Yakima Valley Tourism group. 

In downtown Yakima, the Historic North Front Street is hopping with activity of late. The old Train Depot reopened this year with three local tenants: Russillos Pizza,  North Town Coffee and the Local Yokel. Along the street are various vendors including Garden Dance (women’s boutique), Garden Girl (plants and stuff) and Gilbert Cellars (nice wine)

As for museums, the Yakima Valley Museum is a must and through December they have a fun exhibit on Sasquatch.  Down the Valley there is the American Hop Museum in Toppenish, plus their 75 murals that depict the history of the region. In nearby Union Gap the Central Washington Ag Museum has a huge display of the farm equipment from over the decades.

The Valley is also known for our agriculture bounty. Throughout the Valley are fruit stands and produce shops that offer the bounty of the area.Farm Fresh Fun website has details. And of course, we are wine country with nearly 100 wineries up and down the Valley.

Where to Sleep - Lodging (aka, the great indoors)

If you're looking for accommodations, the Fresh Hop Ale Festival has the following suggestions.
  • The Hilton Garden Inn, located at 401 E. Yakima Ave Yakima, WA 98901, and can be reached at (509) 454-1111. Contact for availability
  • The Red Lion Yakima Center, located at 607 East Yakima Avenue Yakima, WA 98901, and can be reached at (509) 248-5900. Contact for availability
  • Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott, located at 137 N. Fair Avenue Yakima, WA 98901, and can be reached at (509) 452-3100
  • The Howard Johnson, located at  9 N. 9th Street Yakima, WA 98901, and can be reached at (509) 452-6511.
  • The Holiday Inn, located at 802 E. Yakima Avenue Yakima, WA 98901, and can be reached at (877) 834-3613
  • To find other accommodations check out Visit Yakima or

Where to eat - Restaurants, Pubs, and Bottle Shops

One cannot attend a festival on empty stomach. So here are a few suggestions, prior to the Fresh Hop Ale Festival or after.Despite it's appearance, the city of Yakima is home to nationally recognized restaurants and eateries.

If fast food is generally your thing, you might consider Miner's Drive-in Restaurant or Peppermint Stick Drive-in.

image of Miner's Drive Restaurant sourced from Yakima-Herald Republic,
  • Miner's Burgers
    Technically located in Union Gap, Dave Miner's opened his business in 1948 as a walk-up and takeaway eatery. As it was in 1948 the restaurant is known for its 'giant' burgers. The technique known as 'smash' was originally started in the 1920's, produces a burger with crispy (carmelized) crust. Using the technique also allows a restaurant minimize cooking prep. What started as a simplified burger-cooking technique, has inspired generations of locals to recall their first Miner Burger.

    Located at 2415 S 1st Street along Yakima's main arterial, today Miner's features an indoor restaurant as well as an attached park for summer sit-downs. Stop by today.

  • Peppermint Stick Drive-in
    Much like Miner's, opened in the 40's by providing something unique. Known for their Peppermint ice-cream cone, this burger stop rests 2 scoops of red-streaked, peppermint, ice cream on a memorable baked cone. If you're visiting the cone, then try their signature burger the Dave. The Dave is a "... thick, half-pound patty with all the trimmings, and like all their burgers, comes with the "special sauce that has been passed down through generations."

    Peppermint Stick Drive-in is located on Tieton Drive at 5110 Tieton Drive (in Yakima, Washington 98908) 
On the other hand if you're looking for somewhere to sit down or watch a sporting event on the television, please consider the following spots:

image sourced, The Sports Center

  • The Sports Center
    The Sports Center Restaurant and Bar is located on Yakima Avenue at 
    214 East Yakima Avenue (in Yakima WA 98901) can be reached at (509) 453-4647.

  • Bills Place
    Welcome to one of Yakima’s oldest continuously operating bars. Originally built in 1933, we offer daily food specials, trivia, foosball & dart tournaments and much more. Covered outdoor patio & smoking area is the best in town.

    Our continuously rotating selection of micro-brews including local favorites from Yakima Craft Brewing, Bale Breaker Brewing along with other Northwest breweries ensures a pleasurable beer-drinking experience for everyone! We also feature a selection of aged 22oz beers from our cellar to please even the most demanding beer connoisseurs.  We feature wines by the bottle from Naches Heights Vineyard and a great selection of your favorite cocktails! Come down today and join us for a great time!

     Bill's Place is located on 3rd Avenue at 
    206 South 3rd Avenue (in Yakima, WA 98902) and can be reached at (509) 575-9513.

  • Bert’s Pub
    Bert’s Pub opened its doors on May 15th, 2006 and from that moment on, we have never looked back. We are a testament to the philosophy. that if you offer a quality product, at a reasonable price, in a relaxed and friendly atmosphere, the community will respond. This was Bert Grants philosophy, and we like to think he is looking down at us and is proud of what Aaron Gamache has created in his honor...

     Bert's Pub is located on Tieton Drive at 
    5110 Tieton Drive (in Yakima WA.98908) and can be reached at (509) 972-4557
  • Second Street GrillSince opening in 2008, the Second Street Grill has established itself as downtown Yakima’s social hub - a place to meet, eat, drink and relax.
    Enjoy a casual, contemporary dining experience surrounded by the brick and mortar of nearly 100 years. We offer a diverse menu of American fare with something for almost every taste and budget. The center island bar features 24 draft beers with a heavy emphasis on craft beers from the Pacific Northwest, as well as local and regional wines. Many of our specialty martinis and cocktails feature house-infused liquors.

    Past meets present as the black and white photos on the walls – taken from the archives of the Yakima Valley Museum and featuring teams from Yakima Valley’s past – blend with ample hi-definition televisions for today’s best sports viewing.

    Second Street Grill is located on 2nd Street at 28 North 2nd Street (in Yakima, WA) and can contacted at 
    (509) 469-1486. 

If you are looking for additional choices, visit the Yakima Valley "Spirits and Hops Trail" guide or here

Where to fill-up - Picking up one (growler or 6-pack) for the road

source, Bale Breaker Brewing (
Besides wineries, the area is home to two nearby breweries and one just 40 minutes away. 
  • Yakima Craft
    Yakima Craft Brewing Co. is a craft beer brewery located in the heart of North America's leading producer of hops, the Yakima Valley in the state of Washington. We produce high-quality craft ales and lagers with an emphasis on full-bodied taste and unique character.
  • Yakima Craft has two taprooms, located on River Road at 2920 River Rd #6 (in Yakima, WA 98902) and on Yakima Avenue at 120 East Yakima Avenue (in Yakima, WA 98901). Their 'River Road' location can be reached at (509) 654-7357 while the 'Yakima Avenue' location is reachable at (509) 571-1468.
  • Bale Breaker
    Bale Breaker Brewing Company is the newest craft brewery to open in the heart of our nation’s hop country, but while the brewery is new on the scene, the family behind the beer is not.  The great-grandparents of owners Patrick Smith, Meghann Quinn, and Kevin Smith first planted hops in the Yakima Valley in 1932, the year before Prohibition ended.  Now, 82 years later, their love of hops and passion for craft beer has led them to where they are today – in the midst of running a production brewery surrounded by their family’s hop fields, just down the road from where they were born and raised.

    Bale Breaker Brewing Company opened the doors to their new 30-barrel production brewery in April 2013.  Surrounded on three sides by a field of Cascade hops, the new facility is approximately 11,000 square feet and houses an onsite taproom (no food preparation, but outside food is welcome) with a beautiful outdoor patio and lawn area, perfect for enjoying the Yakima sunshine.

    Bale Breaker is located at on Birchfield Road at 
    1801 Birchfield Road (in Yakima, WA 98901) and reached at (509) 424-4000

  • Snipes Mountain Brewery
    Walk between six tall lodge poles that flank the entrance of Snipes Mountain Brewery & Restaurant, push open the big double doors, and come on in. A unique pub and dining experience is waiting for you.

    Find a seat at the oak bar, in front of the fireplace, or on the wrap-around patio.

    Designed to reflect the surrounding countryside, there's plenty of wide open spaces for everyone. Separate banquet rooms are also available and children are always welcome

    Snipes Mountain Brewery and Restaurant is located on the Yakima Valley Highway at 905 Yakima Valley Highway (in Sunnyside, WA 98944)  and can be reached at (509) 837 - 2739.

Finally, if you choose to relax afterwards, stop into The Beer Shoppe for a growler to go. While you're waiting for 64 ounces of beer-in-a-bottle, look around the shoppe for a few bottles, or grab a pint.

  • The Beer Shoppe
    The Beer Shoppe is home to more than 550 different kinds of beer, from the great Pacific Northwest and the world.  The Beer Shoppe is located in Yakima (THE HOP CAPITAL of the world) right smack in the middle of Washington, Our middle name is "by the bottle" everything is priced by the bottle so it's mix & match of everything.

     The Beer Shoppe is located on Yakima Avenue at 302 W. Yakima Avenue #107 (in Yakima, WA. 98902) and be reached at (
    509) 453-5706

Be safe, be smart, and enjoy this year's Yakima Fresh Hop Ale Festival!

References used in this guide
Please visit our sponsors