Brook House Hops, based just beside the Malvern Hills in Herefordshire, has staged its first annual hop walk.
Representatives from Hobsons, Wye Valley and Marston’s breweries enjoyed a day out at the farm, exploring the hop bines and discussing industry issues.
Brook House Hops sales manager, Sebastian Nielsen, said: “Our ethos is to provide the best UK-grown hop products to support brewers in their quest for the creation of unique, crafted products.
‘We want to directly support brewers’
“We are unusual in that we sell hops directly to brewers, instead of through the big merchants. We want to directly support brewers, and the hop walk was a great celebration of UK industry.”
By cutting out the middleman, Brook House says it can listen more closely to trends and provide its customers with a personalised service.
The tour took the groups out into the fields to look at the beautiful hop bines, sturdy and strong after a great year of sunshine and plenty of rain, as well as into the working production plant, which was busy with harvest workers. There they watched the hops being taken from the bines, separated from the leaves, dried, and processed, ready to be sent out and made into great beer.
Many brewers took the opportunity to grab some green hops — hops that are not yet dried, and therefore give beer a uniquely fresh and crisp aroma.
After the tour, lunch was served and the debating started. Which are best: UK or US hops? What are the trends for 2019? How is the New Zealand harvest doing? What types of beer are popular and growing right now? It made for an interesting round-up to a great day.
Nielsen (pictured above) said: “In the brewing world, an annual hop walk is a big event, looked forward to all year round as an occasion for brewers, beer writers, beer enthusiasts, and hop farmers to get together and enjoy each other’s company, whilst watching the annual harvest. We hope that everybody got something from the day.”