Idaho is the country's third-largest producer of hops, lagging just behind Washington and Oregon. And yet Diane Gooding, Vice President of Operations at Gooding Farms in Parma, said a lot of people haven't quite connected that booming business to the craft beer trend.
"The average Joe, they may not know there's a thriving hop industry out here even though they're craft beer enthusiasts," said Gooding.
The Merry Hopsters Bus Tour
is working to change that. Now in its third year, the tour hosted by Bittercreek Alehouse
and the brewmasters at Odell Brewing Co.
will bring busloads of craft beer enthusiasts to Gooding Farms on Saturday, Sept. 8, for a farm tour during the hops harvest. Gooding and the rest of the farm crew will walk the "merry hopsters" through the process of harvesting, give a history of the farm and explain why they do what they do. The event includes a Bittercreek-catered picnic at the farm (this year's menu features house-made sausages), brews from Odell and live music from the Marshall Poole & Luke Messimer band.
Tickets to the all-day affair cost $40, or $120 for a "Hop Crew" of four, and can be purchased online through Eventbrite
. Check-in is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. at Bittercreek on Saturday morning, with the three buses leaving at 10 a.m. and returning in shifts at 4 p.m., 5 p.m. and 6 p.m.
Gooding said if tourists take one thing away from the event, she hopes it will be this:
"The biggest thing is drink craft beer. Because that supports us, and the industry in Boise as well as the industry across the nation."