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By Fergus Fitzgerald, also posted in News on 04/12/18
Wild Hop is brewed once a year, and we ask people to bring in hops growing in their gardens or locally, which are collected all together for the brew.
This year, a lot of commercial hop farms had a tough time with some lower yields and the harvest season being extended as some hops were ready early and some late.
This was due to the cold, wet weather early in the year and the really long, dry and hot spell that followed. It's a season which I believe in the past we called 'summer'.
However, the donated hops that were brought to us were very good, and we got plenty of them.
Thank you to everyone who took the time to collect hops for the brew, and I must make special mention of Mark Dorber who filled 3 builder's bags worth of hops gorwing at The Anchor in Walberswick.
One quick tip, if you do decide to just cut the bines off, put them in a builder's bag to pick the cones off later. Do not then go and have a lovely lunch for an hour, unless of course you do wish to be trapped in a car with the non-human cast of 'Arachnophobia', as my wife and son were.
Arachnids aside, the hop collection went very well, as did the brew day. This year, we also took advantage of some of the new equipment we installed last year to add more wild hops to the beer after fermentation.
The bottling took a bit longer than expected but Wild Hop 2018 is back with us now and on sale online and in our stores. (£19.99, 12 x 330ml bottles, 4.8% abv)
As usual everyone who donated hops has been invited to an evening at the Southwold store for a taste and a free bottle of beer as a thank you.
This year's batch is a bit different to last years. The bitterness is more assertive but so is the malt character to help balance it out. I think it’s come out as a lovely classic English style bitter with its earthy, herbal hop character and a nice sweetness from the malts.