A one-off beer impossible to repeat until September 2011 goes on sale tomorrow (September 9) after being brewed on the first day of this year’s hop harvest.
St Austell Brewery made Trelawny’s Harvest Ale – a fresh hop beer – on September 1 as a celebration of the annual crop of Cornish-grown malt and Herefordshire hops.
Within six hours of picking the year’s first hops in Herefordshire, award-winning head brewer Roger Ryman was back in St Austell adding them to his brew made with malt barley freshly harvested from Cornish fields.
Fresh hop beers are the Beaujolais nouveau of the brewing world. They can only be brewed at one time of the year – in early September - as the hops must be used immediately after harvesting. If not, they start to decompose. This year, the very first day of the hop harvest was September 1.
St Austell Brewery carefully co-ordinated its brewing team while Roger Ryman travelled personally to Herefordshire to collect the hops for Trelawny’s Harvest Ale.
As the brewers were mashing the first malted Cornish barley of the season, farmers Richard and Ali Capper were picking the first hops of the year’s harvest in Herefordshire and loading them into loose bales. They were then driven back to Cornwall and added straight to the waiting brew within six hours.
Mr Ryman said: “The use of whole fresh hops will provide a unique taste experience, but even we didn’t really know exactly how it was going to work out.
“It is the first time St Austell Brewery has done this kind of thing and we’re very excited by the outcome. We left St Austell at 7am, were picking the hops by 11am and were back adding them to the brew by 5pm. It was a long day but all went well, and we are all looking forward to trying the new beer.
“Beer is a 100% natural product made from fresh produce and St Austell Brewery is committed to local sourcing.
“Our brewers are innovative and highly skilled at their craft – and we’re always up for a bit of fun!”
Just eight days later, on September 9, Trelawny's Harvest Ale is ready for sale in St Austell Brewery pubs and the Brewery Visitor Centre in St Austell. It is a one-off brew impossible to repeat until September 2011.
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