How the seasons affect the hops

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Beer changes with the seasons. There’s light and fruity golden ales to quench your thirst in summer, dark amber brews with toffee and spice for autumnal evenings and hearty barley wines and full-bodied stouts to warm you in winter.

But this change isn’t down to design as much as you might think. Brewers might add certain ingredients to your beer but the taste is mostly down to Mother Nature herself.

You see it’s all about the hops – like any other plant they’re affected by the seasons. Different temperatures and conditions mean different harvests and tastes. And once the hops are grown and picked, the flavours change according to how they’re stored.

Hops can only be enjoyed fresh once a year – in just a four week period in September. Outside that time brewers rely on dried hops. And the drying of hops gives them a completely different flavour – like the intense, deep and pungent taste of winter ales. But once a year, for just a few weeks, we get the chance to taste beer made from fresh, green and wet whole flower hops.

So as the fields turn golden we head straight to Herefordshire to pick fresh green hops for Green Hop, our autumn AleBlazer. The hops need to be used within 24 hours so once they’re picked we drive them to Truro overnight for a next day date with the mash tun. And at the end we produce a fine, pale, end-of-the-summer ale, designed to let the quality and freshness of its raw ingredients shine through.

It’s a beer like no other – famed for its fresh grassy and sweet citrus notes. But because each harvest is different, we don’t know what type of hops we’ll get or what they’ll taste like until we try it. It means the arrival of Green Hop is always an eagerly awaited event at the brewery – one which we’re excited to share with you too.

But if you’d like to try our long-awaited seasonal beer you’ll need to be quick. It’s only available in cask for just four weeks this September. And if you fancy a pint, we’ve put together a few of the places serving  Green Hop below…

Alexandra Inn, Penzance
TR18 4LY

The Anvil, Cubert
TR8 5EQ

Cadgwith Cove Inn, Cadgwith
TR12 7JX

CAMRA – Falmouth Beer Festival, Truro
TR11 3BJ

The Castle Inn, St Ives
TR26 1AB

Copperhouse, Hayle
TR27 4DX

Grapes Inn, Falmouth
TR11 3DS

Gurnards Head Hotel, Zennor
TR26 3DE

The New Inn, Helston
TR13 0EA

Newquay Golf Club, Newquay
TR7 1LT

Oddfellows Arms, Falmouth
TR11 3HA

Old Ale House, Truro
TR1 2HD

Pilchard Press, St Ives
TR26 1LF

Portscatho Social Club (Harbour Club), Gerrans
TR2 5HH

The Preston Gate Inn, Bude
EX23 9ET

Probus Comrades Club, Probus
TR2 4LD

Queens Arms, Botallack
TR19 7QG

The Rising Sun, Truro
TR1 1ED

The Royal Oak, Perranwell Station
TR3 7PX

The Front, Falmouth
TR11 3JT

Seaview Inn, Falmouth
TR11 3EP

Seven Stars, Falmouth
TR11 3QA

Seven Stars, Flushing, Falmouth
TR11 5TY

The Affleck Arms, Newmarket
CB8 8TG

The Tors Inn, Belstone, Okehampton
EX20 1QZ

The Tinners Arms, Zennor
TR26 3BY

Trengilly Wartha Inn, Nancenoy, Constantine
TR11 5RP

Trewellard Arms Hotel, Pendeen
TR19 7TA

Turks Head, Penzance
TR18 4AF

Victory Inn, Towan Cross
TR4 8BN

Water Mill, Lelant
TR27 6LQ