Friday, May 31st, 2024

Peaks and Pints Beer Flight: Bale Breaker Brewing


In 1920, Michael Loftus, an Irish immigrant and grandfather of BT Loftus, follows the railroad west, settles in Yakima, and buys the family homestead. Twelve years later, Leota Mae, wife of BT Loftus and great-grandmother to Bale Breaker Brewing owners, plants the first hop field, igniting what would become the family’s legacy for four generations and counting. Mike Smith, father to Bale Breaker owners Patrick, Meghann, and Kevin Smith, joins grandmother Leota Mae to run the farm after BT’s sudden passing, marking the third generation of hop farmers. Kevin Quinn marries Meghann Smith after meeting at the University of Washington Business School. This is where Grit & Grain Episode 69 began. The Grit & Grain sat down with Kevin Quinn to hear how he and the fourth generation built Bale Breaker smack-dab in the middle of their hop Field 41, and how their Loftus Ranches supplies the brewery and the rest of the nation with hops. Stream the episode (with earphones) while enjoying our Bale Breaker beer flight — a flight we’re calling Peaks and Pints Beer Flight: Bale Breaker Brewing.

Peaks and Pints Beer Flight: Bale Breaker Brewing

Bale Breaker Pilsner

4.8% ABV

Bale Breaker’s year-round crisp Pilsner carefully balances malt and hops with notes of breakfast cereal, floral, and citrus. Brewed with local Simcoe, Loral, and Palisade hops grown on the brewery’s family farm in the Yakima Valley. Made in the classic German style with noticeable hops and no adjunct malts, this pilsner is made with all Pacific Northwest hops, which bring additional citrus and berry fruit notes and less floral character compared to traditional European noble hops.

Bale Breaker Daybreak Pale Ale

5.5% ABV

Ten years ago, when Bale Breaker opened, they utilized the hop knowledge from their family that has been growing hops over four generations. The brewery had two beers available when it opened – Top Cutter IPA and Field 41 Pale Ale. Think of Daybreak Pale Ale as Field 41’s more modern younger sibling brewed with Simcoe and Mosaic hops. The simplicity of this hop bill lets the featured hops shine. The beer is crisp and crushable with complex aromas of grapefruit, apricot, and pine resin with hints of mango, blueberry, and melon.

Bale Breaker TrailBreaker

6.8% ABV

Yakima’s backyard hosts some of the best outdoor recreation in the state. With its warm dry climate, easy access to the cascades, and nearly 300 days of sun, the Yakima Valley offers ample opportunities to move your body while enjoying the scenic beauty of rolling desert hills, crystal clear rivers, and evergreen forests. Peaks & Pints travelled to the Yakima Valley and Seattle’s Ballard neighborhood to brew our seventh house beer, Bale Breaker Brewing TrailBreaker IPA, which was first released at Peaks & Pints Seventh Anniversary Celebration Nov 1, 2023, and remains on tap a full year. We toured Loftus Ranches that ultimately grew the hops for TrailBreaker, and then brewed the IPA at Bale Breaker’s brewhouse in Seattle’s Ballard neighborhood. Brewed with Simcoe, Cryo Citra, and Cascade hops, this old school, amber-colored IPA has notes of pine and citrus.

Bale Breaker Total Confusion Frozen Fresh Hop IPA

6.9% ABV

Bale Breaker’s owners brew handcrafted ales surrounded by their great-grandparents hop fields, just down the road from where they were born and raised. They opened the estate brewery in April 2013, which now includes barley fields. Their 27,000 square foot facility, 30-barrel brewhouse features an onsite taproom with a beautiful outdoor patio and lawn area. Their Total Confusion is a brew that promises to leave your taste buds pleasantly puzzled thanks to a unique combination of Citra, Mosaic, HBC 586, Columbus, and fresh frozen Cascade Cryo hops. The frozen fresh hop IPA offers aromas of grapefruit, mango, and pine with noticeable bitterness.

Bale Breaker Convergence Zone IPA

7.2% ABV

The state classifies cidermakers as wineries, which can’t share tasting quarters with a brewery. Last year, the state legislature passed a new law that allows these tasting rooms to coexist with that of a distillery. Thus, Yonder Cider and Bale Breaker Brewing launched their own shared still, Wise Fool Spirits, igniting the green light for their joint taproom in Seattle’s Ballard neighborhood. Each operation has its own small production area at the Ballard taproom, too. Bale Breaker brewed Convergence Zone IPA at their Ballard production facility. This West Coast IPAis brewed with Simcoe, Citra, Mosaic, Loral, Eclipse, and Amarillo hops for aromas of citrus, orange, pine, and a hint of biscuit.

LINK: Peaks & Pints beer and cider cooler inventory