Program & new hop varieties · Wellhopped World Series · Behind the scenes
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. Consequently, so the importance that we hold on being able to help brewers create great beer means that our new hop varieties have to inspire and bring something fresh to the brewer and be viable to the grower.
The aim of our Hop Development Program has been to find agronomically sound, exciting new hop varieties that will one day be produced commercially with the help of our own expertise and solid grower relationships.
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 flavors 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 program 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 after a further trial period. We aim to make them fully commercial varieties. What is extremely exciting is that there are more varieties coming through the program which have new intense aromas and remarkable flavors.
Not content with just developing our own varieties Faram’s has been involved with and sponsored the British Hop Association programme of new seedlings in their search for great new flavors.