Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Hops in Worcester and Beer in Hereford

The other week the IBD had a trip to see the hops at Stocks Farm and Wye Valley Brewery. The day started off with a talk about the breeding programme that has seen Charles Faram selling some interesting new British hops. They're getting new hops into small scale production in as little as four years from seedling, which is impressively fast, and certainly quicker than the procedure used at Wye Hops. I suspect the less methodical approach leaves more chance of the hops being susceptible to common diseases though.

We were then shown round the hop yard. Here's Ali Capper of Stocks Farm and the British Hop Association in front of some Sovereign plants.

These were normal height hops:

And here's some whizzing along conveyor belts:

The success or failure of hop crops may be a lot more controllable than it was back in the day but there still seems a lot of variation in yield:

At Stocks Farms they've gone from growing four high alpha varieties to nine aroma varieties, which fits in with the way a lot of world hop growing is going. 

After that it was on to Wye Valley Brewery, where the Head Brewer Gareth Bateman showed us round. They've got a shiny new 80 barrel brewery and are brewing ten times a week.

I was driving so couldn't make the most of their hospitality but it's nice to hear they're doing well.

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