Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Don't overlook the obvious

Like lots of things in England, it seems that even hops come in to and out of, fashion. One of those hops that seems to be used less and less is the good old Fuggle.

Seen as the architypical English hop that have been around for around 150 years, first being recorded in  1861 but first propagated in 1875 by Richard Fuggle in the South East. It became synonymous with the area with around 3/4 of the English hop production coming from there just after the 2nd World War. However, disease struck the crop and now it accounts for less than 10% of the total hop yield and most of it comes from the West Midlands nowadays.

It seems to have been overlooked by the new breed of brewers who look further afield for their hops, which admittedly do give a different taste to beer, but surely there is still a place for the Fuggle in modern brewing. It is easily recognisable when used in brewing giving a typical 'English' taste to beer. Low in alpha acid, so not imparting a great bitterness, it has an distinctive earthy aroma and taste, which admittedly does not suit every beer or every pallet.However, used well it can produce a beer with a robust body, maybe, more suited to  darker styles of beer, or the more traditional types of bitters. But surely it still has a place in the brewing industry. So come on brewers, take a gamble, look to a British hop once in a while and see what you can produce. We may all be surprised.

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