What’s your current position at your brewery, and how did you get started in the craft brewing industry?
I am an owner at Bale Breaker Brewing Company in Yakima, Wash.—the heart of hop country—and I guess you could say I was born into this industry. My family has a multi-generational hop farm that was started in 1932 by my great-grandparents. We have harvested hops every year since. In 2013, we decided to use our expertise to start a brewery located smack dab in the center of Hop Field #41 on our family’s farm.
What’s new at Bale Breaker?
Earlier this year, we released the first beer in our new IPA Rotator Series, called Hop Country Session IPA. It’s easy drinking and low ABV but packed with hop aroma and flavor. Next up in the series is Golden Grit IPA, which will be released in September and showcases an experimental hop developed here in Yakima, HBC 630. We also love fresh hop beer season, and we’ll be canning (for the first time!) our award-winning Citra Slicker Wet Hop IPA.
What’s the best part of being a part of the craft brewing community?
Exactly that, the community—from fellow brewers we’ve gotten to know over the years, to lifelong friends who started as coworkers, to the thirsty guests who visit our taproom with big smiles on their faces. Beer connects people. Breweries connect people.
Name a favorite food and beer pairing.
Topcutter IPA with local street tacos.
What’s your favorite beer from another brewery?
That’s an impossible question to answer, but nothing beats an aromatic, fresh West Coast IPA, in my opinion.
What do you like to do in your time away from the brewery?
I love to be outdoors any chance I get, so the Pacific NW is the place for me. We’re just one hour from the mountains and two hours from the ocean and city life in Seattle. My ultimate happy place is stand up paddle boarding on the Yakima River.
What’s your biggest accomplishment unrelated to your job?
Any other accomplishment seems minor in comparison to what we’ve built here at Bale Breaker in just six years. What started as a pipe dream to connect our hop farm to beer drinkers’ fridges materialized faster than we could have ever imagined. We have grown to become the fourth-largest independent craft brewery in Washington. We employ 35 amazing people who have gone on to buy houses, start families, and grow with us. We started a national fundraiser (Ales for ALS) that has raised ~$2.5 million for ALS research. I look forward to what lies ahead!