Beer is a Conversation Bonus: Eric Desmarais
As part of the 2019 northern hemisphere hop harvest we joined Bintani as they travelled to the US to make their final selections from the Autumn crops. We headed north from Portland, Oregon to the Yakima Valley in Washington State just after the competition of the harvest and were granted a rare insight into the wonderful world of hop breeding and development and the process by which the harvested fresh hops are assessed and then selected before being processing.
The first stop is CLS Farms in Moxee in the Yakima Valley. The Desmarais and family has been farming the land here for five generations and while they produce some of the state’s best cherries, apricots, peaches and plums, it is hop production for which they are rightly renowned.
Eric Desmarais, in this wide ranging chat, takes us through the farms’ history and his family’s connection to the land as well as the ways in which they have made the business more sustainable as both a farm and as an employer through a progressive agronomic approach, cutting-edge harvesting facilities and processing.
Those among our listeners who are brewers – from the veteran to the budding brewer – should find this conversation of interest in terms of how it illustrates a shift in thinking about hop usage. Where once brewers thought in terms of just a particular varietal to achieve certain flavours and aromas they can now look at the flavours themselves and select the same hop grown on different lots or picked at different times to achieve different results.
We are also introduced to Zappa, the latest proprietary hop to come from CLS Farms and who joins El Dorado and Medusa in the CLS hop family. CLS is also a great supporter of the public breeding program.
Bintani provides a wide and varied range of products to assure that brewers can make the best beers for you to enjoy and we thank them for helping us to bring you stories like this one as well.
Enjoy the conversation.