Idaho Brewers United — the state industry guild — uses the slogan, “Beer Grows Here,” for some of its merchandise. My favorite shirt features ears of barley and a hop cone superimposed upon the state outline. The idea that beer grows in Idaho finds full expression in mid-to-late August and throughout September, when both the spring barley crop and the many varieties of hops are ready for harvest.
Jim Nantz famously describes the Masters (Golf) Tournament as “A tradition unlike any other” — I feel similarly about the annual hop harvest in southwestern Idaho. The turn onto State Highway 19 in Caldwell is a return to the agricultural roots of our beautiful state. Traveling west, the first hop yards appear in the distance to the south as you approach the city of Greenleaf — aptly named at this time of year.