Thursday, 26 May 2011
In today's world of new wave radical brewing, English hops seem to have fallen out of fashion. Go back a decade or two and virtually every small, regional and microbrewery of the British Isles had the minty, grassy, earthy Fuggles and the mild spicy, peppery fruitiness of Goldings as the hops of choice for their portfolio of brands. I imagine some still do.
So what changed? Was it a combination of the development of the ever expanding array of new exciting hop varieties and the changes in attitudes and inspiration from the US craft brewing scene? Probably so, but the fact of the matter is that most trendy American and New Zealand varieties have more power, flavour impact and flare than their UK counterparts. Bred to hold heaps of aromatic oils and bittering (in some brews throat attacking) high alpha acid contents. But I'm not being no fanatical traditionalist in defending good old English hops, I'm just pointing out that they have their place and are not to be dismissed as bland and old fashioned.
Thinking back to those first cask ales I ever tried. The pints that drew me into beer geekism in the first place. Timothy Taylor's Landlord and Mordue Workie Ticket weren't loaded with IBUs (international bitterness units) from a charge of American hops. English hops are not just about balanced, drinkable and flavourful beer, they are fairly diverse. From the tangy orange and spice of First Gold to the sweet rounded progress to the woody-blackcurrant notes of Bramling X to the clean fruity-spiciness and versatility of challenger. English hops have their place, they rock!
So remember folks advocating English hops isn't all about growing a beard and banging the drum of tradition. To check out more check them out here.