(This is an historic post as the competition closed on the 7 September 2020)
Those of you regularly reading the monthly Bromley CAMRA Branch newsletters would have been following the growth of Bob’s hops from planting through to flowering. They will be ready for harvesting in early September, so now is the time for me as the beneficial brewer to think about what beers to make with this magnificent crop. The three hop varieties to be used in the brewing are Fuggles, Target and Cascade.
In our very own local version of CAMRA’s “Brew2You”, we want to get our Branch members involved in how we are going to use these hops, so the hop farmer (Bob) and the brewer (me) thought it would be a good idea to run a competition for the branch members. So what we are inviting you to do is to give us your suggestions on what we should be brewing.
The plan is to use the hops in their green state, fresh after picking, and not dry them out for later use, which is the normal procedure. Several factors make fresh hops beers uniquely challenging for brewers. Fresh hops are less concentrated, so it takes more of them to achieve the same flavour as a beer made with dried hops. Fresh hops also provide distinctively grassy, plant-like, and “green” flavour profiles without the extreme bitterness we associate with IPAs and other beers featuring copious dried hops. Additionally, fresh hops expire extremely quickly and need to be used roughly within 48 hours of harvest.
Just to get your brains thinking, let me tell you very briefly about typical beers made from the three hop varieties that Bob has grown.
Fuggles is a very traditional English hop and is used to make classic British ales and milds, giving the beer an earthy and grassy aroma, especially when used both for bittering and aroma. It is also used for porters, lambics and winter seasonals. Well known beers include Blacksheep Best Bitter, White Shield, Shepherd Neame IPA, Fullers IPA, Adnams Broadside, Theakston Old Peculiar and Young’s Special (some combined with other hop varieties).
Target is a more modern English hop with a floral flavour. With its high alpha acid content it is very suitable as a bittering hop, although some brewers also like the hop’s floral notes for dry hopping. Target can be used for almost all beer styles, although it is considered too harsh for light lagers. It is particularly popular as a bittering hop for stouts and porters. Used with discretion in combination with fine aroma hops, however, excellent Bitters and Pale Ales can be produced. Beers made with this include Dark Star Imperial Stout, Fuller’s Imperial IPA, Fullers ESB, Murphys Irish Stout, as well as being often used in Saisons.
Cascade is considered by many the quintessential American Hop and with good reason. It has become an essential hop addition in many American Pale Ales and most West Coast IPAs. Today there are also New Zealand, Argentinian, and Australian varieties of Cascade – as well as found in Bob’s UK garden! A hop with unique floral, spice, and citrus qualities, with the citrus elements often running toward a strong grapefruit character. Here are a few examples of beers with Cascade hops: Anchor Liberty Ale, Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, Dark Star Hop Head, Founders Pale Ale, Kelham Island’s Pale Rider and Adnam’s Ghost Ship.
So get your beer thinking hats on and tell us in one or two short paragraphs what you would like to see brewed. We will probably have enough hops to brew three distinct brews. The brews you suggest can use one, two, or even three of the hop types for really imaginative ideas. All three winners will be given two bottles from the three brewing batches – six in all.
Further more, if you want to, the winners will also be able to come along to one of the brewing sessions and watch the beers being made.
Due to the need to use the hops in their freshly picked state, the opening and closing dates for your suggestions will be very tight. The Branch newsletter will be delivered to your email boxes on the 1st of September. The hops will start to be picked, weather permitting, on the 5th of September.
The closing dates for your recommendations will be Monday 7th September and the brewing will start the day after.
Send your submissions to: Beohha’s Brewhouse