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Early Vs Late.

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A Flavour Experiment.

We love exploring flavours and producing series that allows our customers to further engage with our beer. Hops,  our favourite ingredient, are used extensively in the majority of the beer we are currently producing. Our recent Dripping in Green series highlighted individual species and utilised advanced hop products available on the market today.

For our latest experiment, we wanted to showcase flavour differences when particular species of hops are picked early and late in the harvest. As we love Kiwi hops, partnering with Freestyle Hops from New Zealand was the obvious choice.

 

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Who are Freestyle Hops?

Freestyle is located in Nelson’s thriving artisan community of Upper Moutere. Their mission is to grow exceptional hops, for exceptional beer. They seek to grow the most flavourful, unique and intensely aromatic hops in the world. The hops we have been generously supplied for this series is a true example of that.

 

Their story. 

(Words by Freestyle Hops)

We strive to have a gentle touch in everything we do, from field to foil. We follow regenerative farming practices, grow spray-free hops, use varied inter-row plantings, and take care of our soil. Every day is a chance to express our love of the land and our hops.

Freestyle Hops is situated in Te Tauihu, the top of the South Island of Aotearoa, New Zealand. We’re slightly to the left of Nelson in the ancient clay gravels of Sunrise Valley, at the head of Nelson’s iconic Moutere Valley, renowned for the flavours and aromas of its vineyards, orchards and hopyards.

Our terroir leaves an indelible mark on every hop we grow.  Our unique soils are made up of clay-rich loam and river gravels.  The maritime microclimate of the Sunrise Valley has exceptionally high UV levels relative to growing degree days.  When combined with the excellent diurnal temperature range, it allows us to develop outrageous levels of aromatic compounds in our hops.

This combination allows us to grow hops of unparalleled quality and character that intimately reflect the natural environment in which they grow. Exceptional hops can only come from healthy soils. We believe in kaitiakitanga (stewardship) of our land, knowing that we are responsible for its health and vitality. We strive to have a gentle touch in all that we do, from field to foil, to express our love of this land.

The Hops.  

For this series, we decided to use Nelson Sauvin and Motueka from the 2021 harvest. The notes from this year’s season were that it was a cool growing season with average rainfall. Aromas were highly expressive at harvest and the quality was excellent.  Prior to using the hops, our brewers carried out a hop sniffing session and noted that the aromas of the early picked hops had a more subtle, complex array of tropical berry flavours while the late picked hops of both varieties presented more intense aromas leaning towards the unique pungent and dank aromas that hop variates in this region are well known for.

For the hop fanatics, we have listed detailed specifications at the end of this post.

 

The Beer.   

We utilised our favourite house IPA recipe to produce a balanced, soft and hazy base.  A simple malt bill and a late dry-hopping regime allow the kiwi hops to do their work and produce the aroma and flavour.

 

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The Result. 

After both beers had been dry-hopped the brewers were very fast to pull samples out, firstly to smell the differences but also had their fingers crossed that we didn’t make two identical beers.  Luckily that wasn’t the case and we have two unique but similar beers bursting with flavours and identity. Once packaged the beers our team produced the following tasting notes;

 

Party Starter 

We get distinct aromas of lime and passionfruit, with soft flavours of melon, lime and passionfruit. The hop flavours are soft, tropical and smooth, with the smallest hint of darkness.

 

Fashionably Late

Fashionably Late brings the dankness in spades, with a unique and distinctly kiwi aroma profile. Smooth notes of papaya, lime, overripe and dank tropical fruit and a late melon kick all come through in abundance. The mouthfeel is smooth and soft and accentuates the hop flavours perfectly.  

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This series is an amazing showcase of how important hop harvests are and the vital role our farmers play in the final packaged beers we get to enjoy. Both beers have unique differences and we can’t wait to hear what you think about each one! Feel free to comment on our socials or write in and let us know your thoughts. 

We couldn’t have put together this series without the generosity of Freestyle Hops.  They are an asset to our Southern Hemisphere and we can’t wait to visit them next year.

 

Read More about Freestyle Hops

Buy the Beer

 

 

Early Nelson Sauvin

Block(s): 13, 9

Harvest Date(s): 23-Mar, 24-Mar

Harvest Timing: early|—–> X <——–|late

Field Aromas: White Grapefruit, Guava, Passion Fruit

Avg Kiln Temp: 53.9 C

Early Motueka

Varietal: Motueka

Farm: Freestyle Hops – Sunrise Valley

Block(s): 0, Jacks

Harvest Date(s): 1-Mar, 2-Mar

Harvest Timing: early|—> X <———-|late

Field Aromas: Lemon, Lime, White Fruit

Avg Kiln Temp: 54.3 C

Late Nelson Sauvin

Varietal: Nelson Sauvin

Farm: Freestyle Hops – Sunrise Valley

Block(s): 19, 25

Harvest Date(s): 2-Apr, 3-Apr, 4-Apr

Harvest Timing: early|————> X <-|late

Field Aromas: White Grapefruit, Guava, Passion Fruit

Avg Kiln Temp: 54.2 C

Late Motueka

Varietal: Motueka

Farm: Freestyle Hops – Sunrise Valley

Block(s): 25

Harvest Date(s): 17-Mar, 18-Mar

Harvest Timing: early|————> X <-|late

Field Aromas: Lemon, Lime, Tropical Fruit

Avg Kiln Temp: 54.3 C