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Will it last or will preference for lighter beers reemerge?

“This is what I love about this industry,” Goschie laughs.

In the early twentieth century, there were 1,500 growers in the Willamette Valley, and Oregon produced more hops than any other state in the country.

The 1940s brought new machinery for processing hops, which helped advance the industry.

If they wanted anything else, they had to look to European brews.

Then the craft brewing industry discovered the Oregon aroma hop.

But to Solberg, a specialist from Indie Hops, words such as tart rhubarb, tropical fruit, sassafras and cotton candy come to mind.

He cups his hands, lifts them to his face, and inhales deeply. “I never get tired of it.” This is a ritual that plays out time and again in a state known for innovative hops with aromas and flavors the world has never experienced in beer before.

Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect.

Even though most of the plants are gone, Solberg still visits a couple of times a week, assessing the year’s take and visiting with Gayle Goschie, one of the first farmers to buy into Indie Hops’ vision of sharing Oregon’s “aroma” hops with the entire world.

Goschie’s fresh face and warm smile belie the fact that she’s been working non-stop since the beginning of harvest four weeks ago.

Reverend Phil was in his element — even if he was a bit groggy from his unfortunate incident on Tuesday.

Check out some of the sights and sounds by watching my video below or browse the photo gallery (warning: some shots not safe for work)…

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