4th Annual Veterans Blend

Each year, Yakima Chief Hops collaborates with military veteran brewers across the country to select a new hop blend recipe. While this is typically done in-person, YCH continued with the virtual blend selection method this year, allowing them to continue this vital tradition. Brewers from twenty-three breweries were invited to participate in virtual selection after analyzing three different blends.  

This year's vote was tighter than prior years, ultimately creating a recipe that showcases the varied voices of the brewing industry. The varieties included in the 2021 Veterans Blend are Idaho 7®, HBC 630, Ekuanot®, Azacca®, and HBC 472. The blend is designed to hit a 10%-12% alpha acid range. One exciting feature of the blend is its production timing, often being some of the first hops processed to completion in a crop year to make the Veteran's Day beer release timeline. In addition, each hop selected will bring unique aroma compounds to the blend, including:

  • Idaho 7®: This high-impact hop is known for its significant concentrations of survivable compounds, making it an excellent hop for whirlpool and active fermentation dry hop. Typical aromas include Berry, Bubblegum, Citrus, Stone Fruit, and Tropical.
  • HBC 630: This experimental variety features a unique oil profile, high in geranyl acetate, providing user-friendly aromas of Cherry, Sweet Aromatic, Tropical, and Citrus.
  • Ekuanot®: Released in 2014, Ekuanot® features pronounced aroma characteristics of Bubblegum, Citrus, and Stone Fruit and is known for its extremely high oil content. 
  • Azacca®: Its excellent aromatic qualities of Berry, Citrus, Pine, and Stone Fruit have quickly made Azacca® a go-to hop for late and dry hop additions in varying styles of beer.
  • HBC 472: Aromas of Citrus, Coconut, Herbal, and Woody are expected from this experimental variety. 

Most importantly, each year YCH partners with a different nonprofit organization, allowing YCH to give back to the men and women that have served in the U.S. Armed Forces. This year, YCH will be making a charitable donation to K9s For Warriors, whose mission is to provide highly-trained service dogs to military veterans suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress, Traumatic Brain Injury, and/or Military Sexual Trauma.

According to the Department of Veterans Affairs' National Veteran Suicide Prevention Annual Report (2019), the suicide rate among Veterans is 1.5 times greater than the non-Veteran population ages 18+, with over 6,000 Veterans dying by suicide each year. Additionally, every 65 minutes, a veteran commits suicide.  K9s For Warriors is working to end veteran suicide and return our disabled American heroes to a life of dignity and independence by rescuing and training shelter dogs to be paired as Service Dogs for Warriors.   According to K9s for Warriors, veterans coming into the program take an average of 10-14 prescription medications. However, after training with their service dog, 92% reduce or eliminate medication use.

As the nation's largest veterans service organization providing highly skilled service dogs to disabled veterans, more than 677 veterans and service dogs have been connected as of June 2021. One unique aspect of this program is that 90% of the dogs are rescued, often from high-kill and rescue shelters. Each month, up to 12 veterans come to their headquarters for a three-week training program at no cost to the veteran. K9s For Warriors provides a trained service canine, housing, meals, equipment, veterinary care, and 120 hours of training in a family-type atmosphere that provides essential peer-to-peer support to facilitate the bonding necessary for the two to be a successful team.

Army Veteran Joe turned to K9s For Warriors after years of medication not improving his PTSD. Now that he’s returned home with battle buddy Walker, they’ve been able to get back to enjoying life — including his son’s first football game!

“I dreaded going to work every day. Chesdin has opened up a part of my life I never thought I would have back.” — Brian, 2021 grad. Veteran Brian & service dog, Chesdin, were paired together in March of 2021, and they’ve been overcoming obstacles ever since. During their on-campus training together, they quickly formed a friendship that would last forever.

At YCH, we are honored to partner with K9s for Warriors, for the 4th Annual Veteran's Blend by donating $3 for every pound sold back to the charity. The Veterans Blend is available to commercial and homebrewers in traditional T90 pellets and various packaging sizes. Commercial craft brewers are encouraged to place a pre-sale order by September 15th, allowing them to brew and pour in time for Veterans Day. The blend will be available to homebrewers later in the fall in time to brew on Veterans Day. YCH encourages both commercial and homebrewers to involve their neighboring veterans in the exciting brewing process.