Carpenter Ranch: From Farm to Brew

"We provide the paint for an artist to create."

Collective Arts Brewing is committed to both quality and creativity – in our beer-making and with the art on our bottles. There has been much celebration around our support of the label artists and musicians (for good reason – the talent is incredible!) but we wanted to take a step back for a minute and talk about the most important aspect of our business – excellence in craft brewing. There’s a lot that goes into making a stellar craft beer, from the search for creating something different, to an innovative brewmaster.  Another key ingredient (pardon the pun)? Selecting the right hops. It is an art form that could make or break a brew.

 

Hops before picked off the vine

 

That’s why we seek out the best of the best – using specific hops from the Pacific Northwest of America. We use Citra, Centennial and Amarillo hops for our refreshing blonde ale, Saint of Circumstance, and a more hop forward, yet sessionable, blend of Citra, Centennial, Chinook and Simcoe hops for our Rhyme & Reason XPA. These hops come exclusively to us from the Yakima Valley in Washington state, and are not found anywhere in Canada.

Brad Carpenter, of the Carpenter Family Ranch, has a long and sturdy hops history. The family’s journey began in 1868, when Charles Carpenter said goodbye to his hop growing farm in New York state, moved across the country and settled in the Yakima Valley, establishing the first hop farm in the Ahtanum area and planted his first hops. Skip ahead five generations and the establishment continues to be a family-owned operation focusing on farming and innovation, especially as they began producing certified organic hops. This led to the formation of Yakima Chief, Inc. – a joint-ownership organization with the Carpenter family and two other hop growing families; the Perrault family of Perrault Farms and the Loftus family of B.T. Loftus Ranches Inc. Together, these three hop farming families were able to market their exclusive hop products directly to brewers worldwide.

 

Charles Carpenter

George, son of Charles far right, and his son Jason far left at Ahtanum farm

Charles Carpenter Plaque

 

Despite the skyrocketing market demand for big hoppy IPAs and Pale Ales, it wasn’t all roses for the Carpenters. What ensued was a roller coaster of ups and downs – some years weren’t as bountiful as others. At one point, they sold off their share of Yakima Chief but pooled resources to own the processing plant; keeping the breeding section theirs and theirs only. Within the breeding operation, Hop Breeding Company, the innovative Carpenters, Perraults and Loftus’ developed strains of hops, including the now-renowned Citra hop.

There was a notable change in the early 2000s with the growing rise of craft breweries. As more creativity in beer-making ensued, the demand for different types of hops with different aromas, flavors and alpha content appeared. Thus, the birth of Simcoe and Mosaic, which, along with Citra, became the signature hops typical of tropical, citrusy IPAs and are those found in our tasty Rhyme & Reason.

 

Hops drying in the sun

Carpenters who know work on the ranch

 

The family has risen past trials and tribulations to make a name for themselves among hop growers and beer lovers alike. Even though they’ve been around well before the boom (and subsequent popularity) of craft brewing, the Carpenter family is truly passionate for the innovation of the industry as they’ve evolved their processes to meet the demands of the craft brewing phenomenon. They’ve recognized and embraced brewmasters as highly creative “artists” and work hand-in-hand with these talents to create all kinds of hops – elevating beer to another level and giving drinkers a whole new experience.

As Brad Carpenter loves to say, “We provide the paint for an artist to create.” Just like art + brewing, hops + masters is a beautiful synergy. We’re proud to be one of a few brewers in Canada to be working with such greats in hop growing history.

 

One Response to “Carpenter Ranch: From Farm to Brew”

  1. […] article, we introduced you to the Carpenter Family Ranch, whose hops history is nothing short of […]

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