We’re very excited to be celebrating the most exciting developments in UK hop farming for the next twist on our classic Heathen recipe, using Harlequin® hops grown and harvested in Herefordshire to create UK Hop Heathen (4.1%)!
These fantastic hops produce elegant Mosaic-esque tropical flavours, with a refined citrus bitterness and a delicate hedgerow character. On the brewday, we were really struck by the beautiful New World tropicality that filled the brewery – notes of stone fruits, notably mango and apricot, a hint of jamminess and a gently herbal character, with some zesty lemon lightly coming through in the hop back. Other than switching the Mosaic out for Harlequin®, the recipe otherwise remains the same as “regular” Heathen, so we recommend trying the two alongside each other to really pick up on the similarities and nuanced differences between the two!
Our hops specifically come from Townend Farm in Bosbury, Herefordshire, where they are grown and carefully tended to by hop growers Mark and Lesley Andrews. So as the crow erm… drives, they’ve travelled a mere 137 miles to reach us here in Sheffield!
Harlequin® has quite the family history – it’s a daughter of Godiva®, granddaughter of Jester®, and great-grandaughter of Cascade, and got its name from the remarkable patterns that can be found in the bracts that form the structure of each hop cone. Will Rogers, Technical Director at our hop suppliers Charles Faram, tells us more about the development process and Harlequin’s family tree:
“We chose to start with Cascade because it has great disease resistance, good yield, and is also is the hop responsible for craft brewing’s resurgence. When we grow Cascade in the UK, due to our northerly growing area, it ripens very late in the season. In Yakima it is a relatively early variety, ready for picking at the start of September. In the UK, to pick it when truly ripe, we pick it right at the end of September – weather at this time is unpredictable, meaning harvest can be difficult. Hops are diecious (there are female and male plants, but only female plants produce hops) so we made a cross with one of our male plants which demonstrated earlier ripening. The products of this cross were Jester® and Olicana®, both of which ripen earlier than their female parent, whilst also providing interesting tropical notes. Jester® has become the cornerstone of our breeding program as it is a great hop to grow, requiring less fertiliser and pesticides, whilst also producing good and consistent yields. Buoyed by the results of Jester® we decided to make further crosses and Godiva® followed, an incredible, strong plant with delicious grape and tangerine aromas and flavours, whilst also showing drought resistance in addition to Jester®’s virtues. Harlequin® is a further step on this path, having robustness to environmental factors, but most importantly it’s a hop that truly stands out both prior to and during the brewing process. Deliciously tropical with peach and passionfruit flavours, it stands comparison with the high impact hop varieties coming out of areas such as the USA, Australia and New Zealand”.
One thing that’s always been thrilling for us is to work with suppliers who are as passionate about their produce as we are about the beer we brew for you! There’s a gentle revolution going on in the UK hop world at the moment which combines sustainability and taking care of the environment with amazing flavour, and it’s really exciting to see the breadth of character that’s been quietly in development in recent years – it deserves shouting about!
UK Hop Heathen was brewed in cask, keg and can and released on April 3rd – cask was all spoken for by launch day, with kegs running low already and cans not far behind, so don’t hang around if you were thinking of ordering some! Trade customers can drop us an email at [email protected] or give the team a call on 0114 2812712, or cans are live on our online shop as well as from lovely indie retailers nationwide. Let us know if you need a hand finding the beer in your local area!