OktoberForest: Bale Breaker Brewing

With our many partner brewers around the country, The Nature Conservancy in October is celebrating OktoberForest, highlighting the connection between healthy forests, clean water and great beer. To explore the connection here in Washington, we sat down with Kevin Smith, head brewer of Bale Breaker Brewing.

nature.org:

What makes being a local brewer special to you – what does it mean to you?

Kevin Smith:

We make beer where we live, and the best part of that is seeing friends, family and the community enjoy the beer we make!

nature.org:

Can you talk about the Importance for water for beer?

Kevin Smith:

Clean, plentiful water is crucial to brewing. It takes a lot of water to make beer, even more than you might think. So, conservation is really important.

nature.org:

How do you draw the connection between healthy forests and clean water and beer?

Kevin Smith:

We’re lucky that we’re so close to the William O. Douglas Wilderness and even Mount Rainer. Forests are just a part of our life, whether that is for hiking or camping. The water we have here in Yakima comes from the Cascade Mountains, so keeping that entire ecosystem healthy is crucial to keeping our irrigation system healthy. Our family has grown hops here since 1932, and our brewery is in the middle of “Hop Field 41,” so we can see the use of irrigation water nearly every day.

nature.org:

What’s special about this place — why do you choose to do your brewing here?

Kevin Smith:

The Yakima Valley is a beautiful place: 200 days of sunshine, access to mountains and rivers and, of course, incredible farmland to grow around 75 percent of America’s hops. Thanks to our proximity to our family’s hop fields, we are able to select the best hops for our beers, and that care and freshness comes to life in every barrel of beer we make.


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