As you all know, one HDR adventure often leads to another. Sodbusters was no different. We had just trumped the Corvette Club at Diego’s Annual Spring Fling Car Show in Redmond and had followed Tim on a “Porsche tailored” drive from Terrebonne to the Aspen Lakes Grill for lunch. As always the local brews were tasting really good. And then it hit, one of those sudden flashes – – why not do a club drive to Doug’s hops farm in Salem? “Whatdyathink Pete?” He grinned, “Go for it!” So we sent a text to Doug Weathers, a new club member and our neighbor in Eagle Crest. He didn’t blink an eye! “Audrey and I would love to host the club, and we’ll throw in a BBQ – – and maybe even some beer.” The deal was struck!
Bright and early Saturday morning, August 23rd, ten Porsches gathered at our Arrive & Drive meeting place in Cascade Village. The weather was perfect! You could feel the excitement. Was it for the drive or the promise of beer? Not sure, but suddenly the mood turned solemn. Jonathon and Selma’s car was sporting a flat tire! Not exactly an auspicious start, but with the help of fellow members Jonathon inflated the tire enough for the short drive to the tire store. He and Selma eventually caught up with us as we turned onto I-5 for the final freeway sprint finish to Sodbusters. Dave & Maureen Vadman merged into the group at Camp Sherman, and fellow PCA members from Eugene and Portland met us at the farm. All together we parked 15 Porsches (including Audrey’s Panamera) beside a brilliant green field of Mt. Hood hops awaiting the harvest.
One of the 15 was a white Cayenne driven by Pete. That’s right, an SUV, not his red hot turbo, Cayman-S, or another of his sporty coupes. No, our club President isn’t losing his edge. He was doing me a favor. Since our visiting granddaughter couldn’t ride in the front of our Carrera, Pete graciously offered to be our chauffeur as he rounded the twisty curves with a 7 year old on a bumper seat in the back! Of course, Annie was thrilled. She not only got to ride with our fun neighbor, but she also got to hand out cookies and drinks when we took our break at the Maples Rest Area. Woohoo!!
Doug & Audrey went all out for us, providing plenty of shade under a large party tent where we enjoyed some delicious BBQ chicken with all the trimmings. Sandy, the bartender, made sure we all got to “taste” the hops in Doug’s IPA selection from Long Brewing, a small garage brewer, and the Full Sail Cascade Pilsner which was Full Sail’s 26th anniversary release. Sodbusters grows a field of cascade hops especially for Full Sail which takes pride in the “salmon safe” classification. The field is called #47 in honor of the brewery’s 47 employee owners.
After lunch Doug led us on a fascinating tour of Sodbusters’ newly painted hops processing facility. After describing the various hops they grow on about 900 acres he took us upstairs to see how the hops are stripped from their vines, washed, and then distributed among six large drying bins to prepare them for baling and storage in the large chiller before shipping. The baling team was impressive to watch – – – definitely a young guy’s job! Doug also described the way fresh hops are bagged and quickly loaded onto waiting trucks driven by local NW brewers. They always leave without delay excited to start brewing up their latest batch of fresh hops beer for the masses anxiously awaiting this year’s fragrant brew. As you might suspect, the tour made a few of us quite thirsty. Hence a quick trip back to re-visit Sandy!
Many members had made plans to spend the rest of the weekend in the valley. So we gradually dispersed after thanking Doug & Audrey for creating this very special and tasty day trip. Hopefully you’ll get to taste some brew from their fresh hops at McMenimans Thundercone Fresh Hops Festival or at this year’s Hood River Fresh Hops Festival as well as the Sisters Fresh Hop Festival, slated to both be on September 27th. While our friends in Germany can certainly design and build some fantastic cars, we have to defer to our OR brewers for world class brewing!!