This latest special uses three hops from the Charles Faram Hop Development Programme: Jester®, Olicana®, and Godiva™, all grown right here in the UK.
Citra, Mosaic, Simcoe, and Nelson Sauvin... These are all household hop names found on craft beer labels across the UK today. American and New Zealand hops have dominated the market for many years, with styles like NEIPAs, DIPAs, Hazy Pale Ales needing bold, fruity, and juicy characteristics that only these hops can seem to deliver... or are there alternatives available closer to home?
Since the American craft beer revolution in the 1990s, British brewers have been adding hops like Cascade, Willamette, and Amarillo into their beers. Unlike the commonly used mild, earthy, and spicy British hops such as Fuggles, Goldings, and Challenger, these imported hops could bring more intense citrus, floral, and resinous flavours to their Bitters and Pale Ales. But things are changing with the development of hops in the UK that can now deliver similar characteristics.
With new IPA styles and variations usually requiring three or four times more hop load than the traditional English IPA, we should start to think about where our hops come from. Many modern beer styles require a huge amount of dry hopping that creates losses as big as 30% of the final production. These losses in addition to the high prices of importing foreign hops (double that of UK grown hops) increase the overall price of the beer on the market. This, along with the massive demand for these hops, means our carbon footprint should be the most important factor to consider, with the most commonly used hops traveling thousands of miles to our breweries.
In the past, many breweries would only use locally produced ingredients in their beers, often offering distinctive characteristics unique to the area, whilst having less impact on the environment. Perhaps it's time to re-introduce this ethos - Let's substitute US Cascade for UK Cascade and show the beer community that homegrown hops can stand up to the more popular hops of today.