Ok so, there’s an adage in brewing that when doing something new, you only change one thing at a time. That way you can reference your changes against what has gone before. This is particularly relevant when creating new recipes. Not that we’ve adhered slavishly to this rule of course: Uley Pale for example was down right revolutionary for us in that in that the hopping used 5 hop varieties that we had never used before: two English, two Slovenian, and one from the USA. A bit of a left turn at the lights so to speak but not quite as radical as you might think as the flavour profile was based on a beer sample proudly presented to us by one of our home brewing friends which we developed.
Anyway, told you that to tell you this. The newest beer on our all-year-round-availability- portfolio is Hussar, a 4.2% abv pale best bitter. It was an opportunity for us to re-introduce the bittering hop recipe that was originally used on the now discontinued Hogshead. The aroma hop (the late hop added at the end of the boil that gives the beer its flavour) however was a radical departure in that we used Olicana , one of the new English hop varieties created under the auspices of the Charles Faram Hop Development Programme. We’d previously used a green version of this hop on the Uley Bitter Harvest Special one year and were really impressed with the spicy kick in the flavour.
And there the story might have ended except, along came a hop called Emperor, another new English hop developed by the Faram’s scheme. We were given a sample of this two years ago and we gave it to another friend with a micro plant. When he brought in a bottle for us to taste we thought that it was sensational – a real game changer of a hop in the way the Citra variety has been in the USA (and for many British brewers!). It really did have mango notes on the initial mouth feel and a beautiful long spicy finish. We used it as the aroma hop for our coronation special “N’Uley Crowned” and it was so well received with folk saying, “Can you do this al time!?” Easy tiger, we have 6 on the portfolio already, not sure that we can keep any more plates spinning. So what did we decide to do? Change the recipe of the Hussar. So now it’s made with Emperor rather than Olicana. Is it better? That’s a matter of taste. But the flavour is intense and remarkably fruity. Emperor hop is a game changer, and no mistake. Oh, and it’s grown here!