Hop Development

It’s a well-known fact that the tastes and fashions of beer change, and the thirst for a more varied beer experience and education is growing, so the importance that we hold on being able to help brewers create great beer means that our hops have to inspire and bring something new to the brewer and be viable to the grower.

The aim of our Hop Development Programme has been to find agronomically sound, exciting new varieties that will one day be produced commercially with the help of our own expertise and solid grower relationships.

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The first varieties from the programme to come through to farm trials were Archer® and Minstrel®, both hedgerow varieties and both with a classic, traditional aroma with a slight twist due to their hedgerow parent. They are flying high in craft markets worldwide who are looking for more of the traditional flavours as beer styles to develop away from the high hits of the West Coast IPA style hops.

With changing tastes, naturally the aim of the programme then changed; as the “new world” hops became more popular in Europe the team concentrated on bringing in some of these varieties to make crosses with the strong British rootstocks and create hybrids, something with the best of both worlds. The best way to assess these varieties has been initially through the Charles Faram sensory panel but then later with the help of brewers who have given excellent feedback from brewing trials.

This phase had led to expanded farm trials of the varieties Jester®, Olicana®, Godiva™, Mystic and Harlequin, strong plants with “new world” aroma, excellent disease resistance and good yield. These hops have performed well beyond expectation and have European plant variety rights this year which make them fully commercial varieties. What is extremely exciting is that there are more varieties coming through the programme which have new intense aromas and remarkable flavours.

We then developed Godiva which was released in 2017, and are now close to the end of development of Harlequin and Mystic.

Not content with just developing their own varieties Faram’s have got involved with and sponsored the British Hop Association programme of new seedlings in their search for great new flavours.

The message is to definitely watch this space for other new varieties over the next couple of years.

The Wellhopped World Series is Charles Faram’s industry competition with some exciting twists.

  • Phase One
    The AromaFest competition. To establish the best sample of new and commercial varieties from the Hop Development Programme.
  • Phase Two
    A wave of collaborations between brewers and Charles Faram UK, USA and Canada using only the varieties from the Charles Faram Hop Development Programme.
  • Phase Three
    The beer competition.  The collaborative brews will be among entries into the beer competition that is judged by brewers and industry peers.