Thanks to the recent craft beer boom, demand for hops has rocketed, with ever more beer drinkers savouring the fruity flavours of old English varieties, such as Fuggles and Goldings.
There are currently around 50 hop farmers in the UK and 34 commercially grown varieties, many with quite remarkable aromas – tangerine, citrus, grass, grapefruit, chocolate, blackcurrant, spice, pepper, apricot, marmalade, mint, honey, floral and molasses.
Ali Capper runs Stocks Farm in Worcestershire with her husband Richard and father-in-law. Hops have been grown there for around 250 years and she describes them as magical plants.
‘They shoot up, triffid-like, from hip height to 18ft, from May to June – you can almost see them growing!’ she says.
Ali and her team grow up to 12 different varieties and organise a Hop Walk in the first week of harvest, so brewers can inspect the crop and taste different beers.
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September 15, 2020