UK growers have swept the board at this year’s Charles Faram International Hop Awards, which highlight the hard work of farmers within its Hop Development Programme.
Mark Andrews accepts the Harlequin Cup, for himself and wife Lesley, from Will Rogers (left) and Peter Glendinning. Mark and Lesley also won the gold award for commercial varieties. Photographs: Charles Faram
The awards recognise the commitment and excellence of growers in the UK, USA, the Czech Republic, and Germany in Charles Faram’s hop breeding initiative. They focus on new flavours, disease resistance, improved yields, and environmental sustainability.
This year the awards have been especially exciting in highlighting the consistency and successful formula for hop growing and quality across all aspects of the breeding project.
The overall winners for commercial varieties were Mark and Lesley Andrews, from Townend Hop Farm, for their sample of the Harlequin hop variety. Mark and Lesley’s farm is in Herefordshire and has been producing award-winning hops for three generations.
Mark said: “We are delighted to win this award. The team have worked extremely hard to produce these hops in the very best condition, and to have that recognised by the judges is amazing. We are looking forward to seeing how Harlequin develops as a variety in the future. We are certainly keen to grow more!”
Remarkably, Harlequin also won the silver and bronze awards, with Richard and Alison Capper, from Stocks Farm, winning the silver award.
Sarah Hawkins, from Hawkins Farming, was awarded bronze. Earlier this year Sarah travelled to the Purecraft Bar and Kitchen, in Birmingham, to pick up the overall champion award at the Institute of Brewing and Distilling’s annual hop awards ceremony.
The presentation party of Will Rogers (left) and Peter Glendinning (right) hand awards to (left to right): Jonathan Adams (Jester Cup); Sarah Hawkins (bronze, commercial varieties, and the Olican Cup); and Richard Capper (silver, commercial varieties)
The early-stage variety category was awarded to the CF310 variety which has been grown by Mark and Lesley Andrews. Varieties with a CF code are still in the trial plot stage. As soon as the hop hits the commercial release stage it is given a proper name. These samples can come from any of the international locations within the Charles Faram Hop Development Programme.
New seedling K9, from Peter Glendinning, won the new hop variety award. This hop will now continue to the next phases of trials and will potentially be released commercially in as little as five years. This category is for completely new varieties, where only one plant exists in the Charles Faram nursery, in Herefordshire. In fact, it is in such a top-secret location that even some of Faram’s team members are unaware of where it is!
The Jester Cup, Olicana Cup, and Harlequin Cup are all awarded for the best sample of their respected and established varieties. The Jester Cup was won by Jonathan Adams, from Lower House Farm, Worcestershire, the Olicana Cup was awarded to Sarah Hawkins, and the Jester Cup went to Mark and Lesley Andrews.
Besides winning the awards, the growers are given in-depth feedback from the judges. The judging panel consisted of 21 eminent international head brewers, who were asked to consider a range of desirable characteristics that they look for, as well as to judge aroma and quality. The results are an excellent way to benchmark best practices and raise overall quality across all farms, says Charles Faram.
This year’s winners were announced at the Charles Faram main office on Friday and were presented by group technical director Will Rogers.
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