When we touched down in San Fransisco, I wasn’t too sure how far my lofty expectations of both America and its beer would be met. I remember thinking that our first night got off to a great start when we ventured out to Cellarmaker's O.G brewpub. We finished in Toronado Bar, a San Fransisco institution that offered a final taste of home, with cask-drawn IPAs to say goodnight to the city.
Ten days of breweries, beers, coast roads and Crosby, Stills and Nash lay ahead and it did not disappoint.
There were plenty of breweries we were excited to see but none more so than Russian River. The beers were some of the best West Coast beers I’ve had and the brewpub we were sat in made us feel at home. What more could we ask for? There were some notable breweries too, such as Cooperage in Santa Rosa, which made some amazing dank, fresh hazy beers that really took us by surprise.
Our trip further North took us through the Avenue of the Giants and delivered us at the feet of Portland before our Hop Selection in Yakima. Portland has a great craft beer scene and we tried to see as much as we could. If you ever find yourself in Portland, I’d highly recommend Grains of Wrath, Ex Novo, Ruse and Wayfinder, all great spaces with great beers (including the birthplace of the Cold IPA, Wayfinder).
One aspect of the trip I haven’t mentioned thus far is fresh or wet-hop beers. It seems apt to talk about these beers in the context of Yakima where the hops are picked, brewed and drunk all within a 15-minute radius. These beers are only available for a single month of the year. Once the hops are harvested, it's a race against time to get them into a beer. The fragility of the product only makes the beers that much more special. Unless you are lucky enough to be located next to a hop farm, most breweries usually see their hops dried and pelleted before touching wort. The flavours weren't bigger, but they were uniquely distinct from what I had had before. Hopefully, something we at Track can try to do in the future.
The journey to Yakima was about getting to select our own lots of Mosaic and Citra, ones that we felt would define our core beers and that we could showcase in our one-off ranges.
The first beer we are releasing with our hand-selected Mosaic is none other than Sonoma. A beer that is synonymous with Track and an obvious choice to bare the fruits of our labours in the hop selection (and watering holes) of Yakima. We have a few beers lined up in the pipeline to showcase our Citra including our latest instalment in the Dreaming of series: Dreaming of…Citra.
These beers will bring our hand-selected varieties to the main stage but will be a part of nearly every beer we make in 2023, providing support from the sidelines. They will be a James Jamerson bass line in a Marvin Gaye hit. They will be a calm Peter Taylor complimenting an exuberant Brian Clough. They will be the lift you don’t see but appreciate in every sip…..hopefully.
Harry Clouston - Head of Production