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IPA fans, beware: Hops supply isn't meeting craft-brewer demand

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The craft brewing industry is booming all across the U.S., but only three states — Washington, Oregon, and Idaho — grow one of the main ingredients fueling that growth: hops. Washington State's Yakima Valley grows the lion's share, about 77 percent, and although farmers there are increasing their hops output — especially the fragrant aroma varieties in demand among small-scale breweries — they aren't keeping up with demand from the rapidly-growing craft brewing business. The more aromatic hops are also more sensitive to the weather than their hardier alpha hop cousins, and Washington's warm summer last year hurt the crop. That's bad news for IPA lovers, notes Whitney L. James at Outside magazine. Unless your favorite brewery has a contract with Washington and Oregon hops growers, you'll likely face higher prices or, worse yet, less-hoppy ales.