The management of the new Hillsboro minor league baseball team announced their official team name last week: Hillsboro Hops. Reception of the name has been varied. I had mixed feelings myself. Naturally I liked the beer theme, but (among other minor reservations I had) I agreed with critics who said that hops aren’t grown in Hillsboro commercially. Sure, they’re grown near here, but the commercial farms are all clearly a little ways south in the Willamette valley.
The team’s management concede that hops aren’t a Hillsboro agricultural product, but they contend that they were going for originality. They also claim that the name “Hops” ties to baseball terminology (and I’ll just have to take their word for that). Furthermore, Hops management point out that they were thinking not only of Hillsboro itself, but giving a nod to an important and characteristic industry in the state of Oregon, and this is where their argument started to get to me. After all, I love the whole concept of the Portland “Timbers”, but they’ve got the same thing going: there’s no tree-chopping industry within Portland’s city limits, but people all over the nation have this notion of the state of Oregon and it’s historically important—and even mystical and romantic in some ways—timber industry.
So yeah, I say let’s celebrate the Hillsboro Hops and the significant and very interesting hop agriculture industry that I’m proud to have in my state. And for anybody who flatly claims hops don’t grow in Hillsboro, they probably haven’t talked to many Hillsboro homebrewers .
(Wait! The Hillsboro Homebrewers… now there’s a team name! But I digress.)
Anyway, just in time for the new team name, I’ve got a whole batch of fresh hop IPA’s about one week from being ready to drink, and they’re chock full of hop goodness from right in my back yard in—where else?—Hillsboro!
So in solidarity, I will soon raise my first glass of Hillsboro Hops IPA. Stay tuned.