Fast, fresh and direct is the Brook House Hops motto when delivering high quality hops, malt and yeast to our UK brewery customers. We pride ourselves on being able to offer a rapid and reliable 48-hour turnaround of most customer orders and this year when the whole of the UK transport and logistics sector has been under extreme pressure, we have still managed to fulfill the vast majority in this short timescale. Our hop farm has its own on-site cold store, pelletising and packing facilities and so we‘re set up to respond quickly to changing brewer demands for quality ingredients.
For Hobsons brewery in Cleobury Mortimer however, an even faster service is possible and necessary for one very special beer in particular. Located just 6.5 miles away from our farm at Newnham Bridge, in Worcestershire they’re in the rather fortunate position of being able to pop in and grab their hop orders on the way to work in the morning! It has been this way since we first started working with them 3 years ago, and the relationship between brewer and grower continues to go from strength to strength. Being on the doorstep during harvest is a major advantage though, particularly when it comes to brewing their Green Hop ales.
Hobsons & Sustainability
Since the brewery began in 1993, Hobsons have become a widely respected independent brewery known for its wide range of locally inspired beers and for being at forefront of investing in sustainable technologies. With a mission to become the country’s leading sustainable brewery Hobsons have now won the SIBA Green Business Award twice. First in 2010 and again 10 years later in 2021, testament to their complete dedication to brewing the “green way” with a serious commitment to wind, sun and waste power generation.
Nick Davis founder of Hobsons explains; “Aiming to source as many of our ingredients locally is just one part of an ingrained culture in the brewery to always question our materials and processes, harness our environmental assets and look to reduce waste. We’re lucky that we’ve got a fantastic hop grower on our doorstep that can supply consistently high-quality brewing ingredients and of course this helps keeps our transportation costs and carbon-footprint a little lower too.”
Green Hop Ale
For the past 3 years one of the landmark events on both the Hobsons and Brook House Hops calendar is the first hop-harvest, where Hobsons are generally first in line to get their hands on our freshly harvested green Challenger hops for their much-anticipated Green Hop ale. Bursting with aromas of citrus, cedar, fruit and grassy notes and with a refreshing crisp, floral taste Hobsons Green Hop brew is undoubtedly one of our favourite beers to really savour and quench our thirst after a long day harvesting.
Nick takes us through the process of getting from the hop yards to the brewery for a super fresh green hopped beer.
Although we have tried alternative green hops in the past, Challenger is one of the first hops to reach full maturity and most importantly is preferred by our customers. Early harvesting also allows us to crack on with brewing and get our Green Hop beer out to customers at an earlier date. As soon as we get the nod from Brook House that Challenger hops are in perfect picking condition, we can be on site with our van ready to collect sacks of verdant green hops in a matter of minutes. We normally arrive on site around 08:30am. The team at Brook House are all ready and waiting to help us to load up with hops. By 11:00m we’re back at the brewery and by midday we’re carefully loading the brew kettle with our hand-picked selection of the very freshest local hops. Green Hop is then fermenting by 4:30pm the same day.
We’re pretty confident this is as fresh and as green hopped as you can possibly get!
After this point, the beer ferments for around a week. Then it is either racked into casks or bottled. Casks are usually ready a week after the beer has been brewed, whereas bottles are ready after 2 weeks due to needing conditioning time. Overall the hops go from being hops at Brook House waiting to be picked, to being in a bottled/cask beer ready for people to enjoy in a month! You can really taste the unique freshness of the local hops and it is a pleasure to be able to take the finished beer back to the team at Brook House for sampling.”
Will Kirby founder at Brook House Hops sums the relationship up nicely;
“We take great care over many months to produce the very best hops we can so that skilled brewers like Hobsons can work their brewing magic and create beautiful beers like Green Hop ale.“
As growers, this particular beer holds a very special place in our hearts each year as it represents the very first brewed from our new crop of English hops, fully embodies the spirit of harvest time, and is the perfect representation of the fruit of our labours. Having Hobsons, our nearest brewing neighbours, and sustainability champions create this makes it extra special as it then becomes even more of a local community effort and celebration of what we can achieve when growers and brewers work together. We can’t wait to taste the 2021 vintage!”