A hop grown on a Bosbury, Herefordshire, farm has won the award for the best British sample at the most prestigious awards ceremony for British hops.
Matt Hawkins (left), manager at The Farm, Bosbury, and grower Sarah Hawkins, with her sons John and Henry
Grower Sarah Hawkins and farm manager Matt Bailey, of The Farm, in Bosbury, travelled to the Pure Craft Bar in Birmingham on Friday to pick up the award.
The competition, organised by the Institute of Brewing and Distilling (IBD), brought together samples from every hop grower in the UK. They were judged in November by an expert group of leading brewers, and the sample they selected as overall champion was Sarah’s sample of the new variety Harlequin.
The variety hasbeen developed by Malvern company Charles Faram, to enable UK growers to produce hops that will compete with the fruity, new world flavoured hops from the USA and New Zealand. This, in turn, will reduce British craft brewers’ reliance on imported hops for beer styles such as New England IPAs and India pale ales.
Sarah said: “We are over the moon to have won this award. It is such a fantastic achievement for all of us at the farm, and especially for Matt and his team who have put an incredible amount of work in to produce these beautiful hops.”
Matt added: “I am so proud to have won this award. We have made quite a few changes over the last few years to keep our hop quality up with the absolute best, and this award is a real indication of the hard work and attention to detail that we have put in.
“To be honest, I am not surprised that the judges selected the Harlequin variety. When we are picking them during harvest the aromas coming from the kilns are just incredible. You can tell from a mile away that we are picking Harlequin!”
Flo Vialan, head brewer at Purity Brewing, in Great Alne, Warwickshire, brewed a small batch of beer with the winning hops to celebrate the occasion, and the beer was enjoyed by brewers and growers attending the ceremony.
Flo said: “The flavours from this hop are something that we have never seen in British hops before. We will certainly use them again!”