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Dick’s Brewing Brings Klaber Fair Beer to Southwest Washington Fair

Boistfort Valley Hops: Dick’s Brewing Partners With Southwest Washington Fair to Create Klaber Fair Beer, Celebrating Area’s Rich Agricultural History

By Amy Nile / anile@chronline.com

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Dick’s Brewing has teamed with the Southwest Washington Fair to offer the Klaber Fair Beer — celebrating the Boistfort Valley’s rich hops farming history.

The Klaber hops used in the specialty brew have been grown and cultivated at the fairgrounds since 2009.

The pale ale has spicy citrus notes and contains 5.2 percent alcohol by volume.

“It’s an easy drinking pale ale, which is appealing to a lot of people,” said Dick’s owner Julie Young, who took over the family business founded by her father, Dick Young, in 2009.

Dick’s Brewing created the original beer to commemorate the history of the hops and to honor Herman Klaber, according to Young, who tells the story as follows.

In 1897, Klaber purchased hops and land in the Boistfort Valley to build a farm.

Klaber took a gamble in the down economy and invested $75,000, which would amount to more than $31 million today, to develop the hops farm.

By 1906, the Klaber farm had grown to more than 200 acres and included a town hall, post office and blacksmith.

Klaber became one of the largest producers in Washington state, generating 300,000 to 400,000 pounds of hops and employing more than 2,000 pickers.

Determined to make his crop world famous, the Boistfort Valley farmer took his “Klaber Chehalis Hops” to market in Europe. While returning to the United States in 1912, Klaber died on the RMS Titanic.

Without his leadership, the farm declined over the next few decades. But, the Klaber hops grew wild near the Chehalis River and survived over time.

The Southwest Washington Fair acquired the root stock in 2009 to create a brew for its centennial celebration. Young said she wanted to make the fair beer because her family has roots in the Boistfort Valley.

“It’s something fun we can do for the community,” she said. “And the history is interesting.”

Today, the Klaber Fair Beer will be available through Sunday on draft at the Southwest Washington Fair’s beer garden.

Dick’s Brewing Company and NW Sausage & Deli are also selling the brew.

“When it’s gone, it’s gone,” Young said. “Hopefully, we’ll do it again next year.”

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