Some of you may recall that earlier this month the collective nightmare of American beer lovers came true when 4% of the US hop crop burned
in a warehouse out west. While seeing that picture of the precious hops in flames is enough to make one cry, it was not immediately clear what impact this would have for our favorite brews. A little light got shed on the situation for folks in southern Wisconsin by Rob Larson, brewmaster at Tyranena
:Many of you may have heard of the huge hop fire out in Washington state. A warehouse of raw hops owned by S.S. Steiner exploded and burned taking 4 percent of the U.S. harvest with it... which I assumed would not have much of an impact upon us. We do not buy hops from Steiner and they were of varieties that we do not use. Heard people wondering why 4 percent of the whole crop would be in one location... I didn't think anything of it. As it turns out... I would suspect that a whole lot more than 4 percent is in one location. One warehouse of hops burned... however... it was in very close vicinity to what looks like (from pictures I have received) a whole bunch of other hop warehouses... some of them owned by the company where we get our hops... and luckily the fire did not spread between warehouses... or we would be in big trouble. They all must use the same equipment for hop pelletizing... so the raw hops are stored nearby. Well... I attempted to order some Amarillo hops (which gives the Bitter Woman its characteristic flavor and aroma) and was told that all operations have ceased... apparently the stench of burning hops has stopped all processing... and they are waiting for the air to clear before proceeding. Luckily they were able to beg, borrow or steal some from other customers to get us through to their regular production.