Alaska Airlines shipped 1,200 pounds of Pacific Northwest hops to Maui and Anchorage breweries.
No US airline has ever undertaken a beer run of this magnitude.
The resulting beers are served in Alaska Airlines airport lounges in Seattle, Portland, and Anchorage.
For the first time in the industry, Alaska Airlines shipped 1,287 pounds of farm-fresh Pacific Northwest hops to Maui and Anchorage for local breweries to brew West Coast IPAs.
India Pale Ales have become the definitive style of many breweries in California, Oregon and Washington – with many fortunes made and lost trying to create the next great West Coast IPA.
The key ingredient in a West Coast IPA: hops, grown primarily in Washington and Oregon.
There’s a reason breweries in Hawaii and Alaska don’t brew many West Coast IPAs.
Undried hops are typically taken from the farm to the brewery immediately after harvest to be freshly boiled during the beer-making process.
The hero of this story? Jake Spotts – a beer lover, US Air Force veteran and mailing manager on the Alaska Airlines cargo team.
Spotts fell in love with beer during his 20-year military career that took him around the world.
His conclusion after beer tastings around the world: There is nothing better than the taste of fresh hops during the harvest.
Then one day Spotts had an idea: If Alaska Airlines could ship fresh salmon to the lower 48 states and around the world, why couldn’t the airline ship fresh Northwest hops across the Pacific?
First of all, no US airline had ever done a beer run of such epic proportions on such a large commercial scale.
The biggest logistical hurdle: the delivery of more than half a tonne of perishable fresh hops…
…within 24 hours of harvest from Loftus Ranches in Yakima, Washington, to Maui Brewing Co. in Hawaii and 49th State Brewing in Alaska.
The biggest challenge: brewers only have about 24 hours before the harvested hops start to decompose.
Maui Brewing and 49th State have partnered with Bale Breaker Brewing on the world’s largest beer run…
…which just so happens to be on the Loftus Ranches family hop farm.
The hop harvest at Loftus Ranches had to be timed perfectly.
The harvested hops were bagged, loaded into refrigerated trucks and driven to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.
Alaska Air Cargo crews loaded the freshly picked crops onto waiting planes and shipped the hops non-stop to Maui and Anchorage.
Brewers in Hawaii and Alaska immediately added the Pacific Northwest hops to the boiling phase of the beer-making process.
The resulting beers: Freshial Delivery Hazy Fresh Hop IPA from Alaska’s 49th State Brewing and Hop Cargo Fresh Hop IPA from Hawaii’s Maui Brewing.
IPAs from the three breweries involved in the transpacific collaboration will be served in Alaska Airlines airport lounges in Seattle, Portland and Anchorage…
…until the 200 kegs are empty or another beer run hatched.
Read the original article on Business Insider