Sunday, 9 July 2017

New Slovenian hops

Here at Hopcraft we generally use "new world" hops.  This means those from the USA, Australia and New Zealand, although we do carefully select some European hops which we particularly like and even some British ones, especially now the development of new varieties has started to yield results!

Slovenian hops are used extensively in the UK but are one of those which go under the radar with most drinkers and beer lovers knowing little to nothing about them.. Most are based on the venerable (or, depending on your opinion, awful) British Fuggle hop which now - thankfully - taste nothing like them but are still not particularly exciting in the fruity, interesting new world style.

Well, there are some new kids on the block now and they're aiming for a slice of this lucrative market which the new world has had to themselves for a long time.  Step forward, then, a country you'd probably not associate with hop growing but is in fact a big player in the European market and looking to climb the table.... Slovenia.

Slovenia is best known for it's beautiful capital, Ljubljana, and - in beer spheres at least - the Styrian golding aroma hop which comes in various types and strengths.  Now, thanks to alliances with UK hop merchant Charles Faram, new interesting varieties are being planted, grown and evaluated with the most promising planted up for "field trials" and sale.

Two new varieties which have come through this process are Cardinal and Wolf.  Cardinal is more a dual purpose hop with a fruity nose which is quoted as "Apple, Pineapple, Tropical fruits (passion fruit), Strawberries, Anise" and certainly smelt pretty good!  The star of the crop, however, is Wolf which is a bit of a fruit bomb and got a few approving nods from the brewing team when we broke up the cones!  The official blurb promises " Blueberries, Melon, Raspberries, Elderflower, Violet" and, to be fair, many of those were present although it was pure coconut which caught the eye (or nose?) during our first testing of the hop in cask.... but it's the full-on dry hopping test we're looking forward to more!

So, look out for "Wolf", our Slovenian beastie.... one shot only unless it's really well received then we may have to look at a repeat!

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