Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Holy Humulus Lupulus, Batman!

If you drink Miller Lite, then read no further. This article doesn't have any impact on you. However, if you enjoy real beer, I'm afraid I have some very bad
news that's going to affect you in the taste buds. October 2, 2006 is a day that will live in infamy.

The Associated Press reports that a fire has ruined about 4 percent of America's yield of hops.

The fire started shortly before noon Monday in a 40,000-square-foot warehouse operated by S.S. Steiner Inc., one of the four largest hop buyers in the Yakima Valley of central Washington. By mid-afternoon flames engulfed most of the building, sending up plumes of smoke and a pungent aroma.

Based on an industry official's estimate of the quantity of hops in the warehouse, the loss could amount to $3.5 million to $4 million.

The United States produces 24 percent of the world's hops, and about three-fourths of the U.S. crop comes from the Yakima Valley. Hops were a $77 million crop in Washington state in 2004. More than 40 families grow hops in the valley, which is dotted with orchards, vineyards and farms.

Seventeen varieties of hops are grown in the United States, including aroma varieties which are added for flavor or fragrance and the bitter alpha varieties.


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