Sunday, 2 June 2013

Getting a Cobb on

The great wealth of information in the archives of the Journal of the Institute of Brewing has been a source of delight to me, but it also sent me into a temporary depression. I'd recently put some effort into tying up the loose ends of that most vexing question "what is a Goldings hop?", and felt some satisfaction that I now had the definitive answer on all ten of the varieties of Goldings.  

Then whilst using the excellent search function in the JIB archive to find more historic hop happiness I came across an unexpected bombshell: a 1943 paper which described Cobbs as a Golding varietyI'm sure you can understand the depression this threw me into. Could the most widely grown variety of Goldings really be a mere Golding variety?*

If this is the case then even buying East Kent Goldings won't guarantee you're getting real Goldings free from any interlopers. After much wailing and gnashing of teeth (I might even have pulled some hair out if I had any to spare) I resolved to investigate this calamitous calumny.

As it happens I should have done this straight away as a quick look at Percival showed Cobbs were selected from a garden of Canterbury whitebines, and so like all true Goldings differ from Farnham whitebines only by mutation and not by breeding. Phewb! I have since had it confirmed by Peter Darby that Cobbs really are a true variety of Goldings. 

Quite what caused the terrible travesty that left them languishing in a lower league for long years I couldn't say, but we can at least take comfort that they now reside where they rightfully belong.

* If you don't understand what I'm wittering on about Golding variety is the name for the second division of English hops, not considered as good as the varieties of hops that make up the true Goldings. And for those of you too young to remember the second division think League Championship .

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