Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Laht Neppur: ready for wild hops?

  Laht Neppur brews in one of those rounded metal buildings I grew up calling a Quonset hut, beside the highway, U.S. 12, in Waitsburg.  I failed to take a picture when I stopped by in July 2009, but I did get an illustration at the Hopfest in Yakima last October. I can't recall what the name means, but I do remember this was the first brewpub where I saw a guy getting a quart mason jar filled for off premise consumption. Waitsburg is a little wheat-and-grapes growing town between Walla Walla and Dayton; it has plenty going on, which got it a nice spread in the Seattle Times travel section last June.
  Fast forward to the Yakima Hopfest. Brewer-owner Court Ruppenthal is standing in his booth, dispensing Whiskey Creek IPA, made completely with free range hops.
 His helper Don says the hops grow wild in a few canyons in the Blue Mountains south of town. Some grow vertically, like the trellised kind we see in the fields, and some grow flat on the ground. They all put out nice buds and the crew just goes in the mountains in a pickup truck and tosses those good wild hops in the back. This is a very seasonal production, of course; the brew list on Laht Neppur's website won't show any Whiskey Creek as one of their ten or eleven brews.
  A last note: Laht Neppur took something called Booted Rear, a 10% ABV root beer flavored concoction, to the Strange Brewfest in Port Townsend last January, and took high honors.
(Visited 7/09; 10/02/10)

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