Simply Hops – Getting Great Beer to the People

Simply Hops Guest Post from Daniel Christmas & Emily Swann

Getting Great Beer to the People

At Simply Hops we have been thinking a lot recently about what needs to be upheld and protected within craft brewing, not only for it to continue to grow and flourish, but to an extent for it to transition to its next phase of life? We love craft brewing and we know the genie is out of the bottle now, hopefully meaning craft will be around forever. So, we have to ask these questions to make sure that as much as possible, our own business reflects the ideals of craft and supports it in to the future.

In our opinion one of the cornerstones of craft brewing is localisation; A breweries ability to bring beer styles from all over the world and make it available to the local community. It plays a massive part in the building of a brewery’s sales from its inception, continues to be part of a brand’s customer foundation as it grows beyond its own postcode. It is an essential part of the culture and tone of the craft community.

People buy from people. It is said many times, but in our experience it holds truer than ever in the craft brewing world. At Simply Hops we are making sure that across the UK, Europe and Scandinavia, we have people on the ground working with local heroes to help get the best understanding of customers’ needs. We’ve recently started working with Get Er Brewed in Ireland for exactly this reason. In Ireland more than anywhere, craft brewers are struggling with the ability to build a strong local base. Looking at the Irish Craft market actually gives us a really good insight as to why localisation is so important.

Reliable numbers are never easy to get hold of in these things. In the US, craft beer is often said to make up around 15 – 16% of the market. In the UK it’s been estimated at around 5% but still growing. In the rest of Europe, it can vary from country to country, but the overall picture is towards growth and the taking of a larger share of the market. In the whole of Ireland however, estimates are that craft beer accounts for around 3% of the total market and growth is slow. Nonetheless, when you speak to the people involved in the independent craft brewing industry in Ireland, you still get all of the passion and dedication that you get elsewhere. They see themselves as part of a bigger community and work in the same collaborative way that is pretty much expected among craft brewers. Their beer is just as thoughtfully crafted and offers the same quality and excitement to their customers. So why is the market not responding in the same way as many other places?

geterbrewed

Jonathan and Deborah Mitchell run Get Er Brewed, based in Randalstown in the North of Ireland. They have grown from supplying home-brew and wine kits initially, to now being a major distributor to the craft breweries in Ireland. As well as Simply Hops they work with Crisp Malt and Lallemand Yeasts delivering to craft brewers across Ireland. They have been concentrating recently on making sure that they are able to deliver the best quality ingredients to the customers they deal with. But they are both ambitious and the lack of growth in the market is seen as equally unnecessary and frustrating. Jonathan says “I love Irish craft brewing. The brewers I meet on a daily basis are really killing it when it comes to passion, quality and innovation. There are some things we need to catch-up on here in Ireland though, that will see the craft beer market bloom. When I go to the mainland UK and throughout Europe, I see breweries bringing in locals to their taprooms and bars. The locals love having something that is new, exciting and most importantly “theirs,” right on their doorstep. They are able to interact with the brewers and staff, and in a way that they never can with large scale breweries. It creates both passion and loyalty in the consumer, making them the perfect ambassador for the breweries as they spread the craft word to their friends. It also gives the brewery a financial boost as they are able to shift some of their volume through a short supply chain and protect their margin.” Deborah adds, “It’s all about real interactions no matter who your customer is. We have built our business on face to face communication. We have become our own brand that naturally incorporates all of the values we uphold in our business. The same holds true for the breweries.” Jonathan continues, “Licensing makes running something like a tap-room or pop-up event very time consuming or expensive. The costs of the licenses in Ireland can be eye watering, which makes setting up a tap room a non-starter. Even for pop up events, each time you have to apply to the courts to transfer licenses from already licenced premises. It makes doing these kinds of things difficult and certainly means that anything spontaneous is out of the question. The result is that the brewers can lose a very powerful marketing tool. With so much passion an energy in Irish craft brewing you can almost feel the market straining against its restraints. It’s ready to go!”

Heaney Brewery

Mal McKay is energetic and smiles easily. It gives away his love of what he does. He also sees his local market as key to his future success. He has just finished building his new brewery on his family’s farm (former home of the famous poet Seamus Heaney) and is about to begin brewing his craft beers sold under the Heaney brand. As soon as he starts speaking to us, it’s clear that he plans to overcome any obstacles in his way. His opening sentence is possibly tongue in cheek, but you get the sense he means it. “Anybody that hasn’t heard of us yet soon will. This has all come about from a love of beer, and me and friends homebrewing to make clones of the beers we love. It just went a bit too far one night when I said to my wife I wanted to put a brewery in at the farm. “Wise up” she said, which I did for a while. Then I went a bit mental and decided to do it anyway. To begin with we’re going to focus on some good everyday, everyman beers. I think a good brewery needs to be able to offer a good core range. I have good some great ideas for some big recipes down the line though. The biggest threat to me here is getting the local consumer to understand that they should be buying proper beer. We should be supporting local brewers whenever possible and that means drinkers, the publicans, the staff in the pubs, the hotels, the restaurants and the independent off-sales. They keep saying there’s no demand for the craft beer. But how can there be a demand for it in your pub if you don’t have it in your pub. I guarantee if you put it in your pub, people will buy it.”

O'Brother Brewery

O Brother Brewing in Kilcoole In the South of Ireland, is busy. The radio is loud, the keg filler is being operated at full-tilt and space is very much at a premium. It’s a similar scene that you get from many craft breweries. Fast paced, hard work designed to turn out premium beer. Barry O’Neill, one of the founding brothers (there are three) nonetheless finds time to speak to us about his view of the future. “We set up in the back-end of 2014. Just myself and my two Bro’s. We used to work part time in our Uncle’ Off-licence. We got a reputation for turning up to parties with weird and exotic beers from all over the place and it started a love of beer. We became passionate home brewers then outgrew our dad’s garage so made the leap from very diverse careers to brewers. We spent about 3 years getting the brewery together before we eventually got going here in Kilcoole. We wanted to brew what we feel is lacking in the Irish market, which is big hoppy beers in the American style. We wanted to put Irish beers on the map. In 2011 when we first started looking at this there were very few breweries that were not playing it safe. Now though, there are loads of Irish brewers doing really great things. With regards to the future we are looking at the growth of the market, or rather the lack of it. I think it’s going to be hard yards to keep making in-roads in the market now. I feel this especially when we hear our consumers saying “I got the new craft beer from brewery X” and I know that that particular brewery brews our entire annual production 8 times every day. We have to educate the consumer about the difference between a brewery like this where we have 4 people grinding it out every day because they love what they do. Compared to a brewery that spends more on one advertising campaign than we do in a year. It makes it hard for us to get in to the bars and pubs and to get taps for the people to try out beer. If we can get more locals involved with us, it helps us get that message out”

Rye River Brewery

Finally, we spoke to Bill Laukitis, Head Brewer at Rye River in Kildare just outside of Dublin. Rye River could not be described as a small brewery by any means, with an output that far exceeds that of many of the other breweries we spoke to. They are just opening a new taproom and have excellent distribution through a number of sales channels across different brands. You would expect then that Bill’s view point might be slightly different. But he is clearly an independent brewer who has the love of craft within him. He speaks proudly of “his” Irish brewhouse and the beer they make. “This is the first brewhouse manufactured in Ireland for over 100 years. We wanted to bring this type of engineering back to Ireland so we linked up with a local engineering company and the kit is working pretty well. We’re on course to brew 28 times on the 25HL system this week. We’re pretty proud of the beers we make here. 25 core beers and 30 unique special recipe beers last year. It keeps us very busy.” At this point Bill does something that many craft brewers will do when you ask them to talk openly about beer and begins to talk in-depth about the technical aspects of the water he uses (among other things). It’s great to watch a man so full of love for what he does. We suspect that at this point, Bill would love nothing better than to be teaching the world to brew craft. We do eventually get him back on track though. “Craft brewing is a community and back where I grew up in the states it’s a lot easier for a brewery to open up its doors and let everybody in. Somewhere to share their beers and get to know each other. I think making it easier for breweries to do that would help a lot in the future. It would also help with tourism. A lot of people visit Ireland to try beer. There is a famous beer or two that people come for, but it would be great if it was just as easy for them to visit the great craft breweries in the country.”

It’s quite clear then, that all of the ingredients for growth of the craft market are there. The passion and the skill are poised waiting. Irish brewers are doing all they can but what the Irish market shows us is that connection to your local market is key. It is that interaction combined with the brewing and the beer that grows the market and at Simply Hops we are hoping to see all of the brewers across Europe build ever stronger support bases. Legislation and licensing changes are just part of this. Our support as a supplier is also important and we plan to do all we can to help.

BBC Enhanced Hop Pellets now available at Geterbrewed

We are excited to launch The BBC Pure Hop Pellet™ to brewers in Ireland, we have been selling these to craft brewers for sometime but now we are able to offer them to the homebrew community also. Geterbrewed proudly represent Barth Haas / Simply hops in Ireland and we really care about the hops we sell, they are all cold stored below 4 degrees and packed in a professional way, we are really impressed with the quality of BBC Pure Enhanced Hop Pellets…

So what is a BBC Pure Hop Pellet?

It is specifically designed for high efficiency and heavy-use applications in both conventional and dry hopping applications. Developed in collaboration with Boston Beer Company, the BBC Pure Hop Pellet™ increases the yield of hop volatiles, resulting in higher aroma and flavour. It provides improved homogeneity and better storage stability compared to raw hops.

The proprietary pure hop process removes extraneous material, resulting in true hop flavour.

The BBC Pure Hop Pellet™ is produced using a finer, more uniform grind than standard Type 90 pellets. A sub-zero process – milling and sieving takes place at approx. -35°C (-31 °F) – prevents hop resins and essential oils from oxidation.

Supported by a long history of safe use in brewing, and in accordance with US FDA regulation 21 CFR 170.30(c) and 170.3(f), hop pellets are generally recognised as safe (GRAS).

Product Specifications

Description: Cylindrical pellets of approx. 6 mm (0.24 inch) diameter, milled and compressed whole hops

Consistency: A solid which normally breaks up into a powder

Colour: Typically from dark-green to olive-green (depending on variety)

Alpha-acids: Typically 4 – 16% (depending on variety and crop year; standardisation is possible)

Beta-acids: Dependent upon raw hops

Hop oils: 0.4 – 3.5 mL/100 g (depending on variety and crop year)

Moisture: 7 – 12%

Process Specifications:

Drying temperature: < 60 °C (140 °F), depending on raw hop moisture content

Milling and Sieving temperature: approx. -35 °C (-31 °F)

Pelletising temperature: < 55 °C (131 °F) Temperature of pellets after cooling: < 20 °C (68 °F)

Product Use:

As these are an enhanced hop pellet you could reduce the quantity of pellets you use or you could use the same and have more impact. Geterbrewed ran some trials using these and we reckoned you got 30% more bang for your buck in terms of hop flavour and aroma

For efficient provision of bitterness, the pellets should be added to the wort at the beginning or up to 15 minutes after the start of the boil. Utilisation of alpha-acids into beer depends on the boiling system and conditions and is normally in the range of 30% – 35%. Added late into the boil, utilisation of alpha-acids diminishes as the utilisation of the aroma improves giving a characteristic hop flavour in the beer. The quantity to be added is calculated using the alpha-acids content and the estimated utilisation. For aroma or dryhopping, the quantity to be added should preferably be calculated using the oil content of the product.

Packaging: Pellets are packed in laminated foils with an aluminum layer as a barrier against diffusion of oxygen. They are vacuum packed. The foil material used meets all food industry packaging regulations. The residual oxygen content in the foil packs is less than 2% by volume. Pack sizes are available in any quantity at Geterbrewed

Storage and Best-by Recommendation:

The BBC Pure Hop Pellet™ should be stored cold at 0 – 5°C (32 – 41 °F) and is best used within 3 years after processing. If stored at –20 °C (-4 °F) it should be used within 5 years. Foils, once opened, should be used within a few days to avoid deterioration of bitter acids and essential oils.

 

Using Hops In The Brewhouse

Using Hops In The Brewhouse

Geterbrewed have been working on hop blog posts recently to try and provide more knowledge around the use of hops. Many modern day craft brewers are going for the juice bomb affect with loads of late whirlpool hopping, hop stands at different temperatures then huge x amount per litre dry hops, in comparison to that on the opposite side of that parameter our research has showed that many traditional german breweries add 60/70% of their hops at first wort. Some brewers add hops in the mash, first wort, the kettle, the whirlpool and the fermenter, so what works best for you?

There is much more to brewing with hops than simply just working out the IBU’s when hops are added, its important to recognise how the hops will affect the finished beer.

There is multiple types of alpha acids, the main types that brewers are interested in are: Humulone, Co Hululone and Adhumulone.

The above alpha acids are isomerised in wort by heat and each are transferred into two forms, the result being six iso alpha acids (cis-iso-humulone, trans-iso-humulone, cis-iso-cohumulone, trans-iso-cohumulone, cis-iso-adhumulone and trans-iso-adhumulone)

Alpha acids aren’t really soluble in beer and aren’t bitter whereas iso-alpha acids are intensely bitter, at least four times more bitter than alpha acids. So Iso alpha acids provide bitterness, they stabilise beer foam and they inhibit the growth of bacteria.

Hop Scientists have identified that higher percentages of co-humulone produce a harsher bitterness hence the demand for hops with low amounts of co-humulone, this has to be balanced as low level co-humulone hops wouldn’t be efficient in achieving high levels of bitterness.

Co-Humulone and Humulone levels vary between 20-50% each in different hop varieties while Adhumulone will be 10-15%. These alpha acids are important for flavour stability in packaged beer. Traditional hopped beers are made up of 68% cis alpha acids (perceived bitterness) and 32% trans alpha acids (these alpha deteriorate much faster) Many factors will affect the degradation of these alpha acids but cold storage of your packaged beer will slow this down greatly.

Some brewers are starting to brew with pre isomerised hop extract, Geterbrewed recently started to sell Isohop in 1 litre format for this purpose. This acheives a 55% utilisation as apposed to 30%. Isohop contains a higher % of Cis- Isomers and are in turn more stable.

Beta acids generally are not soluble but some research has shown oxidation reactions with beta acids create halipinic acid in the boil and perceived bitterness because of its transformation. Oxidation reactions occur due to hops not being stored correctly .

Lots of variables will affect perceived bitterness levels in beer for eg some malts will add bitterness like roasted malt. It can be said that been brewed with more calcium sulphate in the water will be recognised on the taste as having a crisper hop character while those beers higher in calcium carbonate exhibit a harsher bitterness.

The temperature a beer is served at may highlight or suppress the bitterness, with colder temperatures being the suppressant. The level of polyphenols also affects the perception of bitterness.

IBU utilisation is complex to measure and results from different locations will vary greatly depending on what formula you use to calculate. Tinseth formula would be the most popular.

IBU categorisation was created to help brewers brew a beer with a consistent bitterness level. So how do they measure this? By acidifying and extracting a sample of beer with iso-octane, then take an absorbance reading at a specific wavelength with ultra violet light, this is a high tec lab test not one we as brewers can routinely carryout in the brewhouse.

The home-brew community use calculators like Brewersfriend to work out IBU’S.

There is many variable to affect the utilisation of hops, for eg change the length of the boil and the hop utilisation will change, other factors affecting utilisation include:

  • Type of hop- eg pellets are 10% more efficient than leaf and BBC enhanced t90 pellets are 30% more efficient than leaf
  • Shape/size of the kettle – how the hops move around during the boil
  • The gravity of the wort – the higher the og the lower the utilisation
  • The temperatures during the boil
  • The pH, salts & minerals in the water

Hop utilisation equals the quantity of iso alpha acids found in finished beer. Brewers can expect to lose about 50% of iso alpha acids on the hot side and a further 20% during fermentation and packaging.

Different hops require different boiling times, experimentation with blending hop varieties and splitting the addition times are best practice in our opinion to build layers of hop flavour into your beer. Longer post boil stands will result in more hop flavour, aroma and perceived bitterness.

What is a Hop used for in brewing?

Humulus Lupulus or Hops are used during the brewing process of beer to acheive many positive attributes:

  • Bitterness
  • Flavour
  • Aroma
  • Mouthfeel
  • Foaming & Lacing
  • Anti Microbial – Hops act as a natural preservative

What is hop used for in brewing

Generally hops added at the start of the boil are to achieve bitterness, hops in the middle of the boil are for flavour and hops at the end of the boil are for aroma.

Hops cones are the particular part of the plant that brewers want. Specifically the Lupulin glands which contain hard and soft resins, oils and polyphenols.

The Soft Resins contain alpha acids and beta acids, brewers use the alpha acid rating to indicate the level of bitterness. You will hear the term isomerised alpha acids, you see alpha acids only become isomerised as a result of boiling the hops in the wort.

Hop oils produce the aroma and flavour of beer, its not just about the amount of hop oils but about the composition of the hop oils. To be very technical we can use gas chromatography to examine the composition of hop oils.

Hop aroma will change, for example what we experienced recently at the 2019 Hop harvest was a very different aroma in the hop field compared to the aroma in the kiln and again different during the brewing process.

Hop oils aromas and flavours can be categorised into a wide range of sensory spectrums for eg floral, citrus, fruity and woody.

Hop Oils make up 4% of the hop cone, there is a differing range of hydrocarbons from 50-80% and a range of oxygenated hydrocarbons from 20-50% and finally less than 1% sulphur compounds.

  • Hydrocarbons are highly volatile, not very soluble and only impact the beer when added late in the boil or as a dry hop.
  • Oxygenated hydrocarbons are more soluble and aromatic, these aromas are more likely to show up in a finished beer
  • Sulphur compounds albeit in low % of the oils they can influence the aroma

There is 4 prominent Hop oils to be aware of (2-4 are more likely to survive into packaged beer)

  1. Myrcene – Monoterpene ( Green Herbaceous Resinous Aroma)
  2. Caryophyllene – Sesquiterpenes
  3. Humulene – Sesquiterpenes
  4. Farnesene – Sesquiterpenes

You also have to be aware of Biotransformations , this is when hop oils interact with the yeast – Geterbrewed have asked the hop merchants that we work with to look at creating some papers researching these biotransformations

Lianlool (a terpene which occurs naturally) is a carrier of hop aroma but actually one of many hundreds of compounds, there is alot of research ongoing , currently it isn’t just as simple as using a hop descriptor to achieve specifics aroma compounds from specific oils

Brewers have been know to add more of a specific hop variety to achieve that desired aroma profile when in fact the solution maybe to actually add a little less to allow that aroma to shine through. A strange comment you may think as Geterbrewed should be wanting to sell more hops but sometimes less is more.

Hop aroma can make you feel relaxed! Yes its a scientific fact but what is exciting for brewers when they brew with different hop varieties is that when paired with other hops the physical interactions and biotransformations with different yeast strains can create something truly impressive. You know that beer that just blows your mind, those hops that just work in harmony together.

In summary hops are used to determine the bitterness, flavour and contribute to the aroma of a beer and they play an important role in naturally preserving the beer.

How long do hops last for?

Everyone wants the latest hop harvest, if your striving to achieve that amazing fresh hop aroma in a dry hopped IPA that maybe the case but on occasion sometimes the latest harvest might not be the best option…

Growing and harvesting conditions can affect the final outcome of the quality of the hops so the latest harvest may have been a poor yielding year and the previous harvest maybe the better option. The previous harvest will only be a better option however if the hops have been stored correctly.

So how do you store hops correctly and how long will they last?

The question of how long hops last for will of course raise a few more hop related questions and there is many variables, the main variables to be aware of are;

  • Temperature
  • Light
  • Oxygen

The above key points are highly relevant but will affect each variety slightly differently.

Geterbrewed have invested in cold storage to ensure all our hops are stored below 4 degrees. Correct cold chain storage from the hop farm to our cold storage warehouse is time consuming to do correctly so the latest harvest may take a little longer to arrive but its good to know the reason is we want you to receive simply the best hops in the brewing industry.

Sending hops in a refrigerated container is also much more expensive but again it preserves freshness. We want to provide the finest hops to our craft brewers and home brewers so we have set a clear focus on handling the hops correctly.

Geterbrewed recommend that when you receive your hops you store them in a fridge below 5 degrees. Hops exposed to high temperatures will degrade fast resulting in substantial losses of alpha- and beta-acids, the higher the temperature the more the hops will degrade with degradation doubling every 15 degrees.

Hops exposed to UV light will also degrade quickly and lose their flavour and aroma and can actually generate off flavours in your beer. Geterbrewed have invested in premium quality mylar foil packets to package the smaller quantities of hops for home brewers. We buy container loads of hops and they arrive in pallets made up of boxes of hops in 5kg, 10kg and 20kg foil bags, for craft brewers we ship in these volumes but for home brewers we open one of these pack sizes and breakdown into smaller volumes usually 50g, 100g, 225g, 450g and 1kg

When we have visited hop farmers during harvest we have noted when they cut the bottom of the bines they have a maximum time limit of 2 hours to get the hops picked and into the processing plant as the sunlight will degrade the hops. The foil packaging we use prevents UV rays, vapours and moisture getting into the hop package so they are preserved for ultimate freshness, we also nitrogen flush and vac seal the foil packages.

Oxidised hops aren’t pleasant and can cause cheesy off flavours in your beer, we mitigate this with our handling and packaging and storage methods. Hop Flower or Hop Leaf degrade and oxidise much quicker than hop pellets.

We prevent oxygen pick up with the packaging that we use, a high micron foil package that is nitrogen flushed and vacuum sealed ensures the hops have the best packaging for storage, combined with cold storage means we can confidently put a 3 year shelf life on our hops, we can stand over these hops to guarantee freshness for this period of time

Geterbrewed Hop Packaging

We have recently ordered new foil packaging that has a resealable ziplock, these new hop packs will start to roll out at the end of the month, ideally if your resealing it should be carried out with a vac sealer but if you squeeze out the air and use the ziplock and place back into cold storage this would help preserve the hops and slow down the ageing process.

We are passionate about providing the best hops in the brewing industry, this is only achieved by handling and storing the hops correctly, we hope you appreciate the time and effort this takes but most of all we hope you notice a marked difference in the quality of our hops.

 

Australian Hop Harvest Tour 2019 – Tasmania Hop Farms

Australian Hop Harvest Tour 2019 – Tasmania Hop Farms (3.5 Minute read)

HPA Tasmania

We have never visited anywhere before and thought we can see ourselves living there until we visited Hobart in Tasmania, it was beautiful and we loved every minute of it, in life we are passionate about our industry and these experiences make working in the craftbeer industry like we are genuinely living the dream.

Tours of beautiful hop farms combined with great company and a few Karaoke’s made for a very memorable trip

We got picked up at the Hotel by Owen Johnston from HPA, he’s a legend in the Australian Beer Scene and a great laugh to spend time with, a short journey to busy Park Estates saw the “hopporn” continue.

We arrived at HPA Bushy Park which covers 255 Hectares of land growing five varieties Cascade, Enigma, Galaxy, Ella & Superpride, they have been growing hops here for 153 years

Owen HPA Hop Rockstar

Owen was a very knowledgeable host and I tried my best to document his informative tour, Bushy Park boosts many natural environmental attributes, they have the necessary cold winters where the soil is -1 for at least 3 to 4 days to ensure it starts the proper dormancy period for the hops balanced with the right length of daylight hours in summer.

The summers are exceptionally warm so the rainfall is bolstered with water pumped from the rivers to feed aerogation , both top and bottom aerogation is carried out

It’s a complicated geological area with great soils in the valley floors. Bushy Parks doesn’t export any Alpha, their main hop exported is Galaxy

They harvest Galaxy for approximately 10 days and in Tasmania they harvest each variety before moving onto the next. Galaxy was officially released in 2009

Owen explained that in 2007/8 the make-up of the harvest was approximately 90% alpha to 10% aroma and currently it’s less that 8% alpha (for domestic use only) and 92% plus modern aroma made up of their 5 proprietary blends.

The US hop market moved away from Alpha market which has pushed Europe to increase Alpha which has knocked on an unprecedented change of variety in the field in Australia.

There are 340 active brewers in Australia and it’s great to see so many utilizing the local hop varieties, we enjoyed some awesome brews which showcased what can be achieved from the Australian hop varieties

Brief History of Hop Farming in Tasmania

1803- Hops 1st Started

1830- Steady Production in Hobart and Northern Suburbs

1865- Bushy Park started by Ebenezer Shoobridge

1866- 1st Year Harvest

1867- The building of the Text Kiln, it’s a heritage listed building still in standing. Called the ‘text kiln’ as it has biblical subscriptions on the exterior. This kiln brought industrial capability to the area which in turn allowed small family farms to diversify and add hops to their portfolio of products, Shoobridge (the founder) then processed the hops for them

Text Kiln Bushy Park Estates

Fast forward to 1987/8-1992/3 this saw the hop farms that were owned by ‘Big Beer’ be bought back by Barth Haas and the European and American sides of the business gave a route to market for Hop Products Australia (HPA). At this stage it was 40% domestic and 60% export half of which went to America.

1960’s- Saw the production of mainly Pride of Ringwood

1990’s- Saw the above supersided by Superpride

When Big Beer (CUB & Lion Group) owned the hop farms they grew just what they wanted. When HPA took over it changed to “Choice & Variety” and this became the mandate of Craft and HPA’s role was to help craftbrewers create diverse and interesting beers, which takes us to modern times and their five proprietary blends focus on aroma and are the most sought after hop varieties in the globe right now.

Joined during the tour by Tim Lord MD of HPA, a real gentleman and great host. We looked over the valley of a recent addition of 20 hectares of Galaxy and then enjoyed a BBQ in the hop breeding gardens having a rub, sniff and a few beers and soaked up this incredible experience. Grace treated us to an feast of of food and ice cold beers, it was delicious.

One hop that stood out in the breeding garden was HPA 016, there is currently 10 Hectares in the ground and the stand out aroma was delicious fruit forward character with Mandarin, citrus peel and pine, talk to us about forward contracting this!!

HPA 016 experimental hop variety

HPA Bushy Park manage all their own propagation which puts them in a strong position if replanting was required and this will also allow them to assist with propagation for the Victoria Expansion.

Getting in amongst the hop breeding garden allowed us to see what varieties are coming through and get an understanding of how the process of creating new hops works, it’s a very lengthy process and cannot be rushed. I noticed Pollen bags on the bines and it was explained that they use this process to stop flowers being wind pollenated so they ‘Shake and Bake’ which creates the pairing they want.

Once we enjoyed lunch we moved onto the processing plant and again it was meticulous clean showcasing the World’s Best Practice, focusing on getting the hops pelletised and into foil and packaged stable.

We stood over the floor of Enigma 100 kilo plus bales packed onto pallets of 6, the aroma you can’t imagine the aroma it was epic to experience this! The characteristics they test for at this stage are Alpha, Oil and Moisture (8-11%)

Enigma Hop Bales

The temperature has to be steady before being sent to pelletising or cold storage

The theme at HPA Bushy Park Estates seemed to shine as “The Highest Possible Quality balanced with the lowest possible variants”

HPA have full traceability from Lot number back to the field, Geterbrewed are committed to maintaining this level of quality to the end brewer.

Galaxy Hop Valley

Deborah giving the thumbs up to an amazing experience, once again thanks to all the staff that made this possible at Hop Products Australia and Simply Hops

We love what we do, we love the way you do it and we look forward to seeing you all again

Sincerely Thanks for the experience

Kind Regards

Jonathan & Deborah

 

 

 

 

Australian Hop Harvest Tour 2019 – Rostrevor Hop Farm

Australian Hop Harvest 2019 – Rostrevor Hop Farm (5 min read)

Rostrevor Hop Farm Entrance

We have just returned home from a trip to visit Hop Products Australia, they produce 90% of the hops that come out of Australia, they are the sister company of Simply Hops who we exclusively distribute hops for in Ireland.

I have to say this was an amazing experience, as the Irish Brewers that work with us know we are a family business and to leave our girls to fly to the other side of the world to buy hops was a big ask and tricky to manage but I’m so glad Deborah and I got to experience this.

Galaxy Hop Harvest 2019

Long Haul flights, jetlag and excitement mixed with a few drinks, great company and every emotion you can imagine made for an eventful journey to see the hop harvest.

We were joined in the group by John from Simply Hops, John from Oakham Ales, John from Vocation Brewery, plus other ‘non John’ called lovelies Simon from Gipsy Hill, Greg from Five Points, Dan from Simply Hops & Sylvain from Reflect Digital. Rockstar HPA guys joined us at various stages and I’ll name drop like an excited fangirl later in the blog

Aussie Hop Tour 1st Night

Arriving into Melbourne at 6am tired and emotional the only thing to do was to try and stay awake, so we went for a walk about in the city, its great place to go for a dander and living up to the Irish Reputation we gravitated towards a few bars in the early afternoon. As Simon from Gipsy Hill Brewery said by late evening we were bumping into each other and laughing like little drunk babies, innocent vulnerable and generally loving life.

The brewing industry allows me to meet some interesting people and enjoy some amazing experiences. We spent two days travelling around Melbourne visiting some brilliant breweries, standout was Stomping Ground Brewery, we had a great meal in their beerhall and the venue is beautifully presented. We enjoyed a fresh ‘Gipps Street’ Pale Ale straight off the canning line and a personal tour by Ashur the head brewer. We were joined by Dave Edney from HPA , he’s a legend in Australian beer, name dropping done and shamelessly too, he took us to a few local breweries for more tours and yes more beers, we did drink responsibily of course.

Dave Edney HPA

Quaint pop up taprooms packed with a warming vibe and beer drinkers , it was nice to see a full bar on a Wednesday night and such a buzz around craftbeer, as Ireland is a juvenile craftbeer market I’m hoping we get to this stage it really is the way beer should be enjoyed. We stopped into Mountain Goat Beer for a tour and Moon Dog which was a great little venue and had some tasty beers pouring in a packed out venue, which actually had a pop up Garden centre going on, strangely it worked

Moondog brewery

Michael Capaldo fom HPA joined us for a few beers and a bite to eat that evening, he’s a another legend in the Australian brewing scene, hoping he visits Ireland soon as his wife is originally from here and we can introduce some of our Irish brewers to this guy.

The bus journey from Melbourne to Rostrevor saw us take a pit stop at a vineyard for a tasty lunch and a cheeky glass of red wine before arriving at the first HPA farm in Rostrevor.

What a beautiful location for a Hop Farm and a warm welcome from Allan & Gail the husband and wife team who manage the farm. Initial impressions are that the place is immaculate. Dave Edney did the safety induction and got us kitted out in our trendy Day Glows and Hard hats and off we went like a bunch of school kids with a belly full of skittles.

Rostrevor Hop Farm Managers

Precise attention to detail and professional quality control was a theme understood from the off, we cleaned our shoes as Australian Hop Farms don’t suffer from many of the diseases experiences elsewhere in the world.

I love hops, this was an awesome experience, not the first hop farm that Deborah and I have visited but to walk into the hop field and witness in live time the most sought after hop in the hop industry being harvested was a special moment for us.

Hop Field Australia

 

They grow 5 varieties at this Rostrevor farm; Galaxy, Ella, Vic Secret, Topaz and Superpride. One visual I picked up on immediately was that they use Sheep to clear the weeds and the foliage from the bottom on the hop bines. Apparently New Zealand and Australian Hop Farms are the only two to do this. The sheep eat the foliage but not the hops and Allan says they do have their favourite hop varieties, no prizes for guessing what’s their favourite, its Galaxy…

Sheep maintaining Hop Bines

This clearing allows the maintenance of the crop and easy access for the bottom cutter to easily cut the hop bines and then within a very short period of time window (maximum 2 hour) they use the top cutter to bring the bines in from the fields for processing. The processing is what sets HPA apart and we will mention this in more details later

There is a nice buzz around the harvest, large numbers on site , say 130 people or so, just so you have an idea hop farming costs sit at roughly 50% of the costs going into labour, if you weren’t aware every hop bine is hand trained so it grows up the bines. We spoke with a few of the workers literally living the dream, hop farming to generate cash to travel the world. Warm friendly and genuinely nice people. Strangely I met a guy from Wexford working in the Galaxy Hop Pellet Packaging line and had a great little chin wag, he’s been working on the farm for over 2 years and loves it!

Galaxy Hops are in huge demand so it’s important for you to understand why they don’t just grow more and more of it. The harvest window is small and the processing facility can only process at a certain rate . The Rostrevor farm has a total growing land of 307 Hectares , with a recent new addition of  a further 50 hectares near the Buffalo river . So it has taken huge investment to grow this and we heard first-hand the plans to take it up to 600 Hectares in the next 4 years, so the processing facility is being doubled and thus allowing the volumes to grow without affecting the quality.

The unique thing about the HPA Rostrevor Hop Farm is that the hops are pelletised on site as they come off the hop kiln. I’ve visited many hop farms and never seen this focus on freshness at this level. Usually hops come out of the kiln and get baled for storage and then onwardly transported to a hop pelleting plant, sometimes there can months of delay, HPA Rostrevor are pelletizing on site instantly and then sending straight to cold storage.

HPA pelletising Operation at Source

We saw the pelletizing first hand and it was exciting to see the difference. I also noticed they have built a cold room around the pelletizing hammer to ensure the pelletizing process is maintaining all the essential oils and volatiles. Foil vac packed with nitrogen flushing and then into cold storage. Simply the freshest and finest hops in the brewing industry.

Hop Products Australia (HPA) put a shelf life of 3 years of their hops but if stored correctly and handled properly they will be fine to use even longer. I spoke personally with the quality control manager Peter Hamilton on this specific issue as we have brewers that always want the latest harvest. He explained that their process combined with cold chain storage would mean they can guarantee premium quality for 3 years.

We work exclusively with Simply Hops for this very reason, cold chain storage is more time consuming and more expensive but the quality is exceptional. We maintain these processes at Geterbrewed maintaining all our hops below 4 degrees, this experience visiting Australian hop farms made our investment in cold storage facilities easy to justify to ensure our Irish brewers receive the finest hops in the industry.

Allan explained that this was his 46th harvest, a friendly gentle character who clearly still loved what he did. Willing and eager to share information as I bounced many questions off him as we walked around the hop farm. He runs this hop farm to an exceptionally high standard. How do I tell the story of the focus on their quality control? I feel it’s difficult to do it justice, the whole farm is immaculate , we had to put shoe covers on to walk into the hop processing areas, the processes in place all working in harmony to produce the product to as close to perfection as they can.

We picked a fresh hop from the Vic Secret Hop Paddock and dropped it into a glass of beer, the hop oils observed moving through the beer were visually hypnotic, the aroma was beautiful and the hop flavor was something I have never experienced before. This is the very reason HPA hops are selling out , if you want to blow peoples mind with a hop forward beer you need to get some Aussie hops into the brew.

We enjoyed one of the most refreshing beers of the trip at the end of this Hop Farm Tour, casually chatting to Peter he drops in he was responsible for the pairing of Galaxy’s parents, I reckon that makes his a rockstar in the craftbeer world!!

Cheers for an epic experience Simply Hops & HPA

Sincerely enjoyed Experience

Thanks

Jonathan & Deborah

Geterbrewed secure new distribution deal for hops in Ireland

Geterbrewed Barth Haas Irish Distributor

Geterbrewed have formed a partnership with Simply Hops / Barth Haas Group – The World’s largest supplier of hop products and services!! We are proud to now be representing them exclusively in Ireland. This new partnership has been a long time in the making.

Geterbrewed have wholesaled hops to Craft brewers alongside suppling the homebrew community since 2013. During this time of working direct with hop farmers and buying from multiple hop merchants we have built experience of not only how to correctly handle hops but the importance of cold chain storage and being able to identify a quality hop harvest.

Geterbrewed have recognised who leads the way hence why we have actively sought and worked towards an exclusive agency for Ireland with Simply Hops.

Geterbrewed act as a one stop craft brewer ingredient store, exclusively distributing for Crisp Malt, Lallemand Yeast, AB Vickers, so to add Barth Haas to the portfolio is a huge achievement for us. We have carefully chosen our distribution partners and we are collectively working towards a long term relationship to bring the finest ingredients to Irish brewers backed up with full technical support.

Part of the agency agreement was a process of auditing our set up and procedures, visiting our warehousing, cold storage facility and monitoring the storage conditions and temperatures. Simply hops wanted to have confidence in our premises and equipment but also in how we deal with our customers, so they have meet some of our key customers also, they share our vision of building relationships, providing the highest quality hops and full technical support. They saw that first hand and we want to exceed expectations and consistently deliver the finest brewing ingredients

Geterbrewed provide technical support to all our brewers across all ingredients and Simply Hops will be no exception, they have the ability to provide technical support and their sales team are made up of respected brewers, they have access to a huge amount of the worldwide hop farms , including the ownership of HPA (Hop Products Australia) so those amazing hops like Galaxy, Ella, Vic Secret, Topaz, Enigma will all be readily available to our key customers.

Simply Hops / Barth Haas Group are genuine farm sourced hops, correctly processed and cold chain shipped and stored. We are super excited about having access to their portfolio of hops products.

Why Choose Barth Haas Group & Simply Hops?

Hops Distributor Ireland

  • Quality!!!
  • Barth Haas support growers in producing the best hops
  • Barth Haas have the highest standards
  • Established results
  • International quality control guarantees
  • Research & Innovation to continue to produce industry leading hop varieties

Simply Hops are at the heart of craft brewing, they are Hopsessed…

 

 

Hop Contracts

There was a necessary price adjustment in the hop industry this year, we saw a lot of the most sought after varieties drop in price. This wasn’t all good news as some brewers and hop merchants had contracted at a higher price. That meant selling at a very low margin and on some occasions selling at a loss.

Hops

Geterbrewed brought some incredible value to the microbrewery community and used their buying power to drive down pricing for the homebrew community too but times are changing.

The hop harvest was good in some regions but equally it was very poor in others, drought and other issues have caused some difficulties and we expect a rise in the cost of alpha/bittering hops especially from Germany going into 2019.

If you benefited from the lower hop prices and didn’t have a contract then well done and hopefully you enjoyed that rarity from the hop industry but don’t be fooled into thinking this will happen again next year, the availability of the most sought after hops is going to be reduced.

The structure of how hops are distributed is changing, thankfully Geterbrewed invested significantly in increasing our cold storage this year and are recognised as leading the way in Ireland as the number one hop supplier. That means we are trusted to distribute as we have the ability to correctly handle hops.

Geterbrewed have also built some special relationships with hop farmers that allows us to buy hops direct from the farm.

If you own a brewery and want to secure a consistent supply then we recommend you get yourself a hop contract. Geterbrewed will provide hop contracts for hop supply in Ireland allowing you to keep pricing and costs stable and consistent

It is highly unlikely that there will be the same amount of surplus hops available in the coming year. Many brewers now spot buy hops as they are constantly changing recipes and say they don’t need a consistent supply of the same hop varieties.

I would urge caution with this approach, if you want to have a look at securing some hops for your brewery for next year, its a good time to talk now don’t leave it too late to get a hop contract.

 

Leaf Hops at Geterbrewed

Geterbrewed have been able to use their growth to drive down the price of hops in the microbrewery and homebrew industry.

We now have direct at source buying power and refrigerated storage to ensure we are correctly caring for the product. Our hop farmers actively seek perfection so we want to ensure we provide the correct service when handling, storing and repacking the hops

Leaf hops are only offered in 100g foil vac packed pouches for the homebrew market and 5kg foil bales for the microbrewery market. We offer a much larger variety of hop pellets in various quantities but experience has told us to repack leaf hops in one set size.

The quality of the leaf hops are the best we can possibly source, as we buy direct from the hop farmer and pay a fair price we know the hop product is premium quality.

I’ve covered the pellet vs leaf debate in previous blog entries but some systems are only set up for use with leaf hops, you can try using nylon hop bags as a work around to use pellets in these systems

Leaf hops or whole hop cones are usually kiln dried and pressed on the farm that they have been harvested at and usually within hours.

I have seen this in action, the hops are harvested and brought in on the back of a trailer and the vines are stripped to leave just the whole cone. The cones are then kiln dried to a moisture content of around 10%.

Leaf hops are never processed they are simply dried and packed. The farmers we buy our whole hops from cold store their hops, we keep that level of preservation up with the correct cold storage at our warehouse and then when we repack we use quality foil myler pouches which are nitrogen flushed.

During the drying process in the kiln the farmers are acutely aware that this is a delicate drying process, you don’t want the room filled with aroma believe it or not as you want to preserve that.

Usually hop farmers don’t have a pelletising plant so if they want pellets created they send the dried leaf hops/ whole comes to be processed into pellets.

I’ve held freshly kilned hops in my hand straight out of the hop kiln and they are definitely beautifully floral at this stage.

leaf hops, whole hops

To add to our catalogue of extensive brewing products we have again added a large range of the finest leaf hops.