After the huge success of Arkell’s Brewery’s 2013 English Hop Ale collection, the Wiltshire brewery, which also has pubs in Oxfordshire, Gloucestershire and Hampshire, is doing it again this year, launching four beers each using an individual hop from around the world.
And the first beer of the Arkell’s International Hop Collection uses the New Zealand hop Waimea.
From August and over the following four months, Arkell’s brewing team will be producing four 3.6% ABV beers using hops from New Zealand, Slovenia, the US and Poland.
Head Brewer Alex Arkell explained: “These countries are four of the best hop-growing countries in the world. They have much of the right soil and environment for the hops to grow better. In fact, there are only around a dozen countries in the world that grow hops at all. Much like grapes, hops from different regions grow with different characteristics.”
Hops were introduced to beer brewing in the 1300s, mainly because of their preservative properties. By boiling this particular plant with the sugary wort, the beer lasted longer in the cask and larger production and distribution became possible for the small brewers.
Each hop variety adds a totally unique character to a beer. Before brewers used hops they would add in a variation of different spices, called gruit, to complement the malty sweetness of the brew.
Alex added: “We want to demonstrate how much hops vary in flavour internationally – each country produces hops with a distinct flavour. The New Zealand Waimea should have a hint of tangerine sweetness there.”
Arkell’s International Hop Collection beers will be available in all Arkell’s pubs from August.