A Wholly Scottish Beer
When someone mentions ‘hops’ to me, it always makes me think of warm summer afternoons in a country pub. My mind remembers summers drinking ‘Hophead’ and ‘Otter’ beers in the West Sussex village pub near my parents’ home. In contrast, where I live now in London you can hardly move for ‘Hipsters’ and their micro-breweries! When someone told me about Scottish hops producing Scottish beer, I did a double take. Hops? In Scotland? My interest was ignited! Can you really grow hops in Scotland?
“It is exceptionally difficult to grow hops in Scotland’s typically dreich climate, however these hops have allowed us to create a fresh wet hopped beer made with purely Scottish ingredients. This beer is not only exciting news for us, but for the sustainability of Scottish craft beer as a whole.”
Head brewer Simon Tardivel
St Andrews Brewing Company and the James Hutton Institute have partnered up and are producing ‘Harvest Beer’ which is, astonishingly, a wholly Scottish beer! The Institute is excited for the future of Scottish craft beer:
“Grown in specially cultivated conditions at their Farm in Invergowrie, these hops have allowed us to create a fresh wet hopped beer made with purely Scottish ingredients. This beer is not only exciting news for us, but for the sustainability of Scottish craft beer as a whole.”
The hops have been grown as an experiment by the James Hutton Institute who are looking into the viability of commercial hop cultivation in Scotland. The Scottish Government Strategic Research Programme has funded the Institute to complete this investigation. Published figures show that for every £1 of funding from the Scottish Government, £12.75 of economic benefit is generated across the UK.
Tell me about the beer!
- Fresh hop pale ale
- Hopes being grown: Cascade, First Gold, and Pioneer
Described as having ‘Intense but rounded citrus peel, orange, tangerine, floral, pine and lychee aromas.’ They are ‘Primarily used as an aroma hop, but deliver a smooth integrated bitterness.’
First Gold Hops
These hops have a ‘wonderful tangerine, sweet orangey citrus aroma and slender spicy notes.’ It is noted as having flavours of ‘marmalade, geranium, magnolia, sweet and floral.’ The taste is described as ‘refreshing, sharp and crisp bittering characteristics’
The aroma of Pioneer hops can be decribed as ‘distinctly hoppy, yet pleasant lemon and grapefruit aroma, with cedar and herbal flavour notes.’ The bitterness of the hops are known to be ‘crisp, refreshing and clean.’
Sounds delicious! Where can I buy a bottle?
Unfortunately at the moment, just in Scotland:
Harvest Beer is available from St Andrews Brewery brewpub, 177 South Street, St Andrews, KY16 9EE, 01334 471111, and other stockists across Scotland.
Can I grow hops?
Hops remain a rare crop in Scotland, but can you grow hops anywhere else in the UK? The British Hop Association make it quite clear on their site that hops are a tricky crop to grow! They require a lot of care and attention throughout the year, with weekly checks throughout the season (if not more often) to make sure pests and diseases are kept at bay. Growing hops is one thing, but more importantly, how do you make beer from fresh hops in the UK? Imagine growing your own hops and then sitting down to sup on the amber nectar. There are a few people posting on their blogs about this in the US, but there doesn’t seem to be much of an online presence for UK brewers – where are you?
If you know anyone who is brewing beer with fresh hops in the UK, do let us know by commenting below!