Tuesday, November 23, 2010

CT Column 27/10/2010 :Coals to Newcastle

HOPS are a vintage crop, which is harvested once a year in the autumn. Increasingly brewers are producing beers that highlight the harvest by producing green hopped beers, which use fresh un-kilned hops to create striking fresh hop aromas. Here in NZ we have several examples. Brewjolais from Macs has been the most high profile but there have also been examples from Emerson’s in Dunedin, Nelson’s Sprig and Fern and from Galbraith’s in Auckland. We will have to wait till next year to see whether the now Christchurch based Macs brews Brewjolais again after the closure of the Wellington Brewery.
Harvest ales are big in America. On the periphery of Americas west coast hop fields brewers seize the opportunity to pack the zesty pithy resinous character of green hops into their beers.
America’s largest craft brewery Sierra Nevada releases three harvest ales each year. Two of these beers are produced using un-kilned American hops. Northern Hemisphere Harvest is brewed using un-kilned American hops from Washington, Estate Harvest is brewed using hops from Sierra Nevada’s own hop garden situated in the grounds of its brewery in Chico California. The third Harvest beer Sierra Nevada brews uses New Zealand hops that are quickly flown from the hop fields of Motueka to California. Southern Hemisphere Harvest uses whole flower Motueka and Southern Cross hops. The hops are dried as un-kilned hops would not survive the trip across the Pacific without perishing however they are extremely fresh meaning they retain a lot of their ‘green’ character. Southern Hemisphere Harvest pours a golden red hue with an enthusiastic white head. The aroma features a good amount of tangy slightly grassy citrus, tangerine and mandarin along with a good dose of biscuity malt. In the mouth there is more fresh citrus, nutty malt flavour and a long tangy finish. In a classic case of sending coals to Newcastle Sierra Nevada Southern Hemisphere Harvest is now available in New Zealand at Regional Wines and Spirits and The Malthouse.
For those planning a traditional Christmas now is the time to make your Christmas pudding. Iconic English foodie Delia Smith has a fantastic recipe on her website www.deliaonline.com that uses barleywine, stout and rum instead of brandy. If you’re keen to try the recipe I suggest using Fullers Golden Pride and Invercargill Pitch Black. I have already sold my first bottle of Golden Pride this year for just this purpose. Cheers!

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