Beyond TODAY is an extension of our weekly column for the TODAY Show food blog. Over there, I explore why The Simpsons features such a bad beer if the show takes place in Oregon. Over here, Don has a recommendation for Homer and his buddies – switch to Hop Valley! Click here to check out Today’s Bites food blog.
After 20 years of silence, the creator of “The Simpsons” finally came clean as to which Springfield he was referring to as the cartoon town where Homer, Marge, Bart and the gang reside. As many suspected it was Springfield, Oregon, the smaller half of the Eugene/ Springfield Metropolitan Area. There were some clues along the way, the downtown was a bit rundown, and the Nuclear Plant where Homer works bears a similarity to the big Paper Mill on the edge of town. But it was the beer that threw everyone off the scent.
Duff beer by all accounts is a light lager, just like any of the big name brews. This certainly isn’t representative of the state that started the Microbrew revolution. While at the southern end of the Willamette Valley (the cradle of civilization for all things beery and delicious), Springfield long went without a brewery of their own, until now.
In 2008 Master Brewer Trevor Howard and some business partners invested in a little place of their own called Hop Valley. I visited this little brewery last month, and with one of the smallest brew houses I’ve ever seen, Hop Valley cranks out some of the Northwest’s best craft beers.
From their vanilla-infused porter, to their stellar arrays of India Pale Ales, Hop Valley is creating beers that can stand with any of their counterparts in the industry, all along accentuating the oft overplayed and misused hop.
There are about 30 different varieties of hops grown in the world, and all impart a slightly different flavor profile or aroma. What is more, used in combination and added at different times within the brewing process the flavor profile variations that can be achieved from hops are literally limitless.
This can lead to fantastic brews and some pretty hideous combinations as well. The Brewers at Hop Valley really have their hops dialed in, and have a varied and delicious hop presence in every beer they make. This is quite a treat to sit down and have three or four different varieties of beer that all emphasize the hop in vastly different ways and have them all be unique and very tasty.
So now you know that Springfield is making some pretty fantastic beers, and we also know that The Simpson’s live in Springfield Oregon. I say drop the Duff and go with a Hop Valley, Homer. Who knows, maybe all those lovely hops will melt that crayon that is stuck in Homer’s brain, and he can become an enlightened craft beer drinker.
Not bloody likely! :)