Community Hop Project

For those of you aren’t aware, we recently made the shortlist for the SIBA Green business awards. Following on from the awards, we sat and thought about what else we could be doing to make us even more green! Plenty of ideas flew around the office but one idea kept coming back up. We have a great local gardening club that regularly uses the Brewery as a meeting place. Members of the club swap seeds, plants and advice for their gardens. What a great start for a new ‘green fingers’ project. We decided to set up a community hop project and try creating a one off Organic Green Hop Beer. The principle is to produce a once yearly green hop beer with the help of the local community.

We, as a brewery, purchased the plants for the gardening club members. We chose one singly variety; Cascade. We then asked the members to collect their hops and take them home to grow. You can see from the photos below that the new hops have gone away to lovely new homes and people have been very inventive in housing them!

There should have enough hop cones in year 2 to try the first brew. We have to brew within 24 hours of harvest as the hops once picked go off quickly and so everyone will have to harvest on a given day in late August. We will all get together and brew a beer together. We will have a BBQ, drink beer and have some live music – we plan to make it a real celebration of the community efforts.

It will be the community hop growers that will come up with the name and artwork for the bottle label and our brewers will come up with a recipe. The chosen name will then stick with this beer for any future brews – a lasting community legacy. All those that partake will get a free box of 12 bottles of Green Hop Beer! The plan is to then sell any remaining beer commercially both as cask and bottled beer.

Read on for a bit more detail about ‘Horace’ the hop …

Horace the Hop – an update from growers Pam & Clive:

Clive and Pam Morgan are growing Horace the Hop under extremely unfavourable conditions in the Gwaun Valley.  And this is the challenge.
They do not have a garden as such, rather a cliff face up which honey suckle and Virginia creeper have grown with some success out of rubble at the base.
So, Horace is being grown in a cylinder of nutritious home produced compost (we will keep the recipe secret for now) standing on a rubble bed. The cylinder is part of a reclaimed builders rubble chute. The hop poles are reclaimed aerial mast.
Horace survived his journey to Cwm Gwaun and is at last throwing out leaves.  He needs to get a bit of growth on to push him into the sunshine for longer periods each day.  He is given words of encouragement several times a day.
Why Horace?  One of us was subjected to Latin at school.  Memories of translating book one of Horace Odes brought to mind ‘Nunc est bibendum’  Now is the time to drink.  Written in a different context but we live in hope.