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M A I N S

The fresh hops arrive at the brewery, and it’s all hands on deck to get them processed as quickly as possible...

In mid-September, the Moor team took a trip up the M5 to Herefordshire to pick up their fresh hops, and invited brewing friends Get to know some of our and family to help make the beer native British varieties – itself on their return to the brewery. and their characteristics! (And to share a few frothy ones Admiral: resinous (which afterwards, obviously.) means reminiscent of the Getting as many hands on deck as aromas of pine or sap) possible turned out to be a very wise and citrusy plan; with dry hops all the water and Challenger: spicey, with moisture has evaporated and you are notes similar to that of left with a concentrated flavour in a green tea handily transportable, easy-to-store Jester: tropical fruits, most pellet form. Fresh hops, however, notably grapefruit retain all of those natural liquids and Flyer: spice, citrus biomatter, meaning that the flavour is and liquorice diluted. To counteract this, ten times the amount of hops were needed to make this fresh-hopped number, Envy, so it really was a case of the more the merrier at the brewery. Fresh-hopped beers (also known as wet- or green-hopped) have a brighter flavour than their dry counterparts. The oils that normally disappear during the drying process come out to play, leading to a fresher, lighter beer, with floral elements of grass and grain. These beers act as a stage for showcasing the hop itself, and are perfect for homegrown varieties. This way of harvesting and brewing brings an element of seasonality into beer production. As soon as you’ve picked the hops you’ll have around 24 hours before they start rotting and the natural oils start to oxidise, so you’ll need to be ready to brew as soon as the crop is good to go. Under that time pressure, the locality of the ingredients finally come into real focus, as we realised when speaking to Justin Hawke, Moor Beer’s owner and head brewer, and vice chair of the Society of Independent Brewers, who told us how much he loves going out into the hop fields, finding it “rejuvinating”. Once brewed and bottled (or canned, of course), though, freshhopped beers can actually last a reasonable amount of time.

TOP OF ThE hOPS

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Although, if you want to get the best flavour and quality from ’em, then drink them sooner rather than later, we’re told by the brewers. Dried hops normally go into the brew kettle, but due to the sheer mass that had to be used in the fresh-hopping process, this just wasn’t possible on brewing day at Moor. So, the team had to adapt part of the brewery equipment to make it happen, repurposing the mash tun to become the hopback, to get the hops through the system. The whole brewing process takes around 30 days, fermenting for around two weeks, before going through a fortnight of conditioning. If our calculations are correct, then, this new brew will be finished just in time for the start of Bristol Beer Week – we love it when a plan comes together.

Bristol Beer Week is 14-21 October, and will see Moor Beer’s Envy served at selected venues around the city on draught and in cans; moorbeer.co.uk

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Crumbs Bath & Bristol - Issue 68  
Crumbs Bath & Bristol - Issue 68  
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