Up with the lark for first hops of harvest
Added: Wednesday, September 10th 2014
Rooster’s Brewery has created the first-ever “harvest fresh” beer in the North of England, using hops harvested just six hours before they were added to a special brew. Oliver Fozard, Rooster’s head brewer, set off from the Knaresborough-based brewery at 4.30am on 1 September to make the 350-mile round trip to Stocks Farm in Worcestershire in order to collect the hops as soon as they had been picked on the first day of the harvest.
He then headed straight back to North Yorkshire, where the rest of the Rooster’s team had begun the brewing process to coincide with their arrival. Oliver explains: “I visited Stocks Farm last year for the annual Hop Walk, organised by Charles Faram, our hop suppliers, which featured a talk by Karl Ockert, technical director at the Master Brewers’ Association of the Americas. Karl spoke about how some breweries in the US brew beers around the harvest time using fresh hops picked from their own farms eight or so hours earlier. I started to hatch a plan, so from hop bine to the kettle in six hours, Rooster’s Fresh Hop is probably the freshest beer you’re likely to come across this year.”
Rooster’s Fresh Hopale ale showcases the new Phoenix hop variety, grown at Stocks Farm by Richard and Ali Capper, who has been described by Roger Protz as being “the driving force of the British Hop Association”. It’s the only fresh hop beer brewed with Phoenix this year.
With a reputation for brewing unique and innovative beers, Rooster’s, founded by renowned hop guru Sean Franklin in 1993, has long been recognised as a brewery that enjoys showcasing the aroma intricacies that different hops display within pale ales. Available in cask only and simply called Fresh Hop, the beer is a limited edition 4.3% pale ale that is in keeping with the Rooster’s tradition.
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