AHOP farm on the Worcestershire- Herefordshire border has been chosen by a West Midlands pub company in a race to brew the fastest beer in the world.
Stocks Farm, owned by the Capper family, at Suckley, near Malvern, supplied Ember Inns with 25 kilos of hops for its greenhop ale, which aimed to go from field to glass in about 100 hours.
Usually, beer hops are picked in late August and dried, which is particularly the case for hops that are imported from abroad.
They can then be stored for up to five years before they’re used.
In contrast, green hopping sees a return to traditional British brewing, going from the bine to the brewer’s tank in just 24 hours and to a pint glass in four days.
This allows brewers to use the hops as fresh as nature intended, cutting out the hours and miles usually required and creating a full-bodied ale. Only a small number of brewers use green hops because the process is very technical and unlike regular ales, the flavours in a green hopped ale cannot be refined at a later stage, so each cask really is a one of a kind.
Andre Johnstone of Ember Inns said: “In just a 24-hour window, the hops have to go from the bine to the brewer’s tank, therefore ensuring all the fresh oils in the hops which add to the flavour make it into the final brew. The green hops offer a much more intense, full flavour, with almost an earthy, fresh taste. An entirely different taste profile to other real ales that has to be tasted to be understood.
“Only a handful of brewers in Britain can brew green hop ale because the process is so technical. The green hops require more attention to balance the flavour and the element of risk is much higher. With regular ale, the flavour can be tweaked and refined throughout the long brewing period, but green hopping doesn’t offer this luxury. As such, not all brewers are qualified to brew it and punters can be sure of a truly wonderful pint.”
Ali Capper said: “As a local farm, it’s a great honour to produce Ember’s Project Green ale. We have more than 70 years of hop growing experience and are one of the largest hop growers in the Midlands, growing six varieties of hops. We’re extremely thrilled to be supplying our hops for this ale and it’s particularly exciting that it’s the fastest brewed ale on Earth. By using fresh green hops, this creates a unique flavoured ale which can never be replicated and gives consumers a perfect opportunity to try something completely different.”
In 2010, Ember became the first pub group to make a green hopped ale available nationwide.
Such was the reception from its guests, it will once again be offering a unique green hopped ale – Project Green – as one of ales available during its NovEmber Ale Festival, when it will be introducing a raft of new ales across its premises.