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Drop the Duff Homer, Hop Valley is where it’s at in Springfield!

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!  🙂

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9 Comments on “Drop the Duff Homer, Hop Valley is where it’s at in Springfield!”

  1. April 12, 2012 at 12:42 pm #

    I had always wondered where Springfield was actually located. I might have to make a pilgrimage – more-so for the beer!

    • Don
      April 12, 2012 at 1:21 pm #

      If you go, make sure to make a swing through the entire state. There are some really fantastic breweries and tap houses in Oregon.

      • April 12, 2012 at 2:46 pm #

        For sure – and I would be sure to consult you and Jim’s expertise before embarking.

  2. April 12, 2012 at 1:30 pm #

    I still don’t know where Springfiled is, Oregon or anywhere else. (I do know how to say “Willamette” though. Willamette rhymes with Damn It). But, if I’m in the neighborhood, a trip to the tasting room would be in order.

    There are a bunch of varieties of hops. The source of all (quick) knowledge, Wikipedia, says there are 42 varieties grown in the USA alone (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_hop_varieties). I’m glad they are growing them in Springfield. I love that smell.

    Homer doesn’t know what he’s missing.

    • Don
      April 12, 2012 at 1:36 pm #

      My hop variety source was Beer Advocate. What do they know? Bunch of drinkers they are!

      • April 12, 2012 at 3:33 pm #

        I’d go to Beer Advocate for consensus on a beer, for sure.

        I also checked HopUnion (http://www.hopunion.com/17_HopVarieties.cfm?p3=open), I ran out of fingers and toes when counting the varieties. It looks like 80-90. But, they should know their hops, it’s their passion. Like grapes (or barley or other crops) hops have their own terroir, so even the same variety grown in another soil and climate and diurnal pattern will have differences in flavor.

        I’m a homebrewer and I’m forever trying to figure out what’s close to the hop I want because the local homebrew supply store is currently out of. The alpha acids and characteristics of hops boggle my easily boggled mind.

  3. April 12, 2012 at 7:05 pm #

    This is off subject but my favorite local craft beer joint just put in taps and started selling growlers… I’m pretty geeked about it… Just grabbed some 21st Amendment Lower da Boom Bourbon Barrel Barleywine, Darkhorse Plead the 5th Imperial Stout and Weyerbacher Heresy Bourbon Barrel Stout…. 64oz growlers….gonna be a good evening…

  4. April 12, 2012 at 9:29 pm #

    awesome! i miss oregon and their fine brews. i’m back in the midwest now. still plenty of good beer out here tho! 🙂

  5. April 22, 2012 at 1:56 pm #

    Si existe! http://www.duffdemexico.com/

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