It's the 6th of August 2023, the sun is beaming, and our brewers Brais and apprentice Lauren are off on an insightful trip to Malvern, south-west of Worcester, but more precisely Stocks Farm for the annual Charles Faram & Co. HopWalk® event. Here's Lauren to talk us through the day...
"Having arrived by train at Malvern Link Station, we made our way in the melting heat to Stocks Farm where the event took place. The day started with a series of talks from figures across the industry, introduced by representatives of Charles Faram. Not just a day all about hops, the other magical brewing ingredients were covered, with a fascinating talk given by Axel Jany of Weyermann® Malts in which he discussed their heirloom malts and the story of how they reproduced Isaria using only 12 remaining seeds. Derek Orford from Murphy and Son covered water treatment and how it varies in local water supplies and its impact on our beer. Mike Benson from Crisp Malt showed us the impact that changes to the climate have had on crop growth in recent years. I'd also like to mention LemonTop Creative who were extremely helpful in discussing different marketing strategies and how they might tie into my apprenticeship.
After the presentations, we were taken on the hop tour itself through the mass expanse of green. There are acres of vines and crops. Given that we brew with these hops regularly, it was eye-opening to see their origins and the processes they go through before arriving at our brewery! The machinery and equipment used were particularly impressive, harking back to the days of the Industrial Revolution, meaning most are no longer produced and replacement parts have to be manufactured specially. Thanks to Charles Faram and Stocks Farm for having us down, it was a very well thought out event offering lots of helpful information to take back to the brewery."
Not only did they bring back new knowledge from the experience, Brais and Lauren also brought back a load of fresh Pilgrim hops straight from the farm which was added to a brew for our upcoming special simply named 'Fresh'. It's pretty rare to find beers that are wet hopped, so keep your eyes peeled for this one as it's a great chance to try one. You can expect to find a more grassy and herbal flavour compared to the usual method of using dried or pelletised hops.
Thanks once again to Charles Faram, Stocks Farm and everyone else involved in the day, and we look forward to returning in the future!