Prince Harry marries American actress Meghan Markle on Saturday, May 19, at 4 a.m. Pacific Daylight Time, and Washington state is contributing a little more to the festivities than sleepy viewers. That wedding gift comes in the form of one of the things the state is best at — beer.
Windsor & Eton Brewery in Windsor, England, released their Windsor Knot Pale Ale to commemorate the royal wedding. And unlike Prince William and Kate Middleton’s similar brew from 2011, Harry and Meghan’s uses Simcoe hops straight from Perrault Farms in Toppenish, Washington.
“Perrault Farms have been a customer for years, so we were really excited when we discovered they were using Simcoe,” said Kate Ruffing, Chief Marketing Officer & Director of Communication for Yakima Chief- Hopunion, (YCH Hops), a grower-owned hop supplier. “We are a company that really prides itself in connecting amazing growers with brewers, and this is a perfect example of that.”
According to YCH Hops, the Yakima Valley is the United States’ largest producer of hops, accounting for nearly 77 percent of the total United States hop crop. Simcoe, the particular breed from this area that the brewer at Windsor & Eton selected, also lends a quintessential Pacific Northwest flavor.
“Simcoe is earthy and fruity, a perfect balance with the British hops and malt procured at Windsor farms,” Ruffing said.
Harry & Meghan’s Windsor Knot is the first royal brew to contain Simcoe hops, in honor of the bride’s Los Angeles roots, which make her the first American to be formally accepted into the British royal family.
In a statement from Windsor & Eton about the beer, they address the symbolism of this union and the two linked hearts on the beer label.
“When Harry & Meghan tie the knot it will be very much a modern marriage of equals as well as being a celebration of their British and American nationalities,” the statement said. “Each of them have causes that they care deeply about such as the environment, equal rights and the rehabilitation of injured servicemen and women. We chose the interlocking symbols to reflect the strength and support they give each other.”
YCH and Perrault Farms are overjoyed to be included in the celebration, especially because Perrault has devoted six generations to getting their hops just right.
“It’s really a great tribute to this hop and a family that’s devoted their lives to growing it,” Ruffing said. “Plus, YCH is owned by 11 hop-growing families, and Perrault is one of our grower owners … so we’re all family.”
Though the beer is only available overseas, those interested can buy it online through Ales by Mail. Or, for home and commercial brewers, YCH Hops intends to put a clone recipe with similar ingredients up on their website.
And as for celebrating, Ruffing assures that they’ll be doing plenty of it. This weekend, YCH Hops and Perrault Farms are celebrating the nuptials with classic British and American fare, their families, and cases of this special beer that knows no bounds.
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