Brewers pick their own hops to produce a pretty special brew
14 October 2015
A couple of Barnsley brewers tried ‘picking their own’ hops for the first time to produce a rare and fresh real ale for their autumn range.
Owner of Acorn Brewery Dave Hughes and brewer Ian Darvill went to Stocks Farm on the Herefordshire and Worcestershire border to pick 40 kg of green hops and drive them back to Barnsley.
Thirty-six gallons of their resultant Pretty Green real ale was sold at this month’s Old No 7 beer festival in Barnsley town centre.
Dave said: “This was a first for us. Using green, fresh or wet hops in a brew leads to a totally different flavour profile to what you normally get when the hops have been dried and distributed.
“But green hops don't keep and need to be brewed within 24 hours, which means they are only ever used by brewers at harvest time and relatively rarely then. We dashed back and brewed them next morning.
“The fresh green hop ale went down really well and got lots of compliments.”
The seasonal pale ale, called Pretty Green after the Jam song, was brewed at 3.5 per cent to keep it light and let the depth of the fresh flavour come through.
Dave said: “It was an interesting process altogether. Using green hops adds a mystery element to brewing, as the growers can't calculate the alpha acid levels in freshly-picked hops – so we can’t predict the bitterness levels in the final product.
“It was a judgement call on our part and we were very pleased with the end result.”
Stocks Farm, a supplier to Acorn, is a 200-year-old hops and apples grower run by the Capper family for more than half a century.
Dave and Ian had a tour of the farm business before carrying home their hops.
Hops are the flower of the hop plant, the resin-packed cones looking like little green acorns, and their bitterness and aroma properties are used in most beers to provide the counterpoint to the sweet flavor of malt.
Acorn Brewery produces more than 30,000 pints of real ale every week including six permanent ales; Barnsley Bitter, Barnsley Gold, Yorkshire Pride, Blonde, Gorlovka and Old Moor Porter, plus a range of seasonal IPAs and kegged beers.
Established in 2003, the brewery employs 11 and is based on Aldham industrial estate in Wombwell.
Acorn acquired the Old No 7 pub, where the Pretty Green was sold, in 2011 and since then the outlet has had a significant impact on the brewery’s sales with between eight and 10 percent of all the beer it produces now being sold there.
The Old No 7’s beer festival featured ten hand-pulled guest ales from across the UK added to the pub’s usual selection of Acorn real ales and other worldwide brands. There will be a Hallowe’en party night in the pub’s Cellar Bar on Saturday October 31st.
Notes to editor
Attached photograph shows Acorn Brewery sales executive Paul Hicks and Old No 7 manager Dan Herbert with the Pretty Green beer.
Dave Hughes can be contacted on 01226 270734, mobile 07958725880 or firstname.lastname@example.org - visit www.acorn-brewery.co.uk
For more information about the Old No 7 pub visit www.oldno7barnsley.co.uk
Additional media contact: Steph Pollard on 01226 766900 or 0776 196 4492 or at email@example.com
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