Hops are undergoing a revival

Hops are undergoing a revival

Hops flavours deemed too intense for UK palates 50 years ago are being revived as brewers chase a growing market, a UK hops merchant has said.

At the BeerX conference in Sheffield, England, today (15 March), Charles Faram & Co MD Paul Corbett said that demand for unique craft beers had “opened up a plethora of flavours in the UK market”. Hops that were discarded by brewers in the 1950s and 60s because they were too “American”, are now finding a market, Corbett said.

“American flavours were not wanted by the brewers because customers thought they were too intense,” Corbett said. “But that's changed.”

Corbett said that regional brewers are also catching on to older UK hops varieties such as Keystone's mid-season and Keystone's early-season hops and will are playing a part in their revival.

“I've been working in this industry for 24 years,” Corbett said. “When I started we worked with three different types of hops  now we have more than 100.”

Corbett also said that the time taken to bring new hops varieties to market has shrunk from ten years to four years, to keep up with demand from brewers for new flavours.

BeerX is organised by the Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA) and will run until tomorrow. SIBA represents the UK's small-scale brewing industry, which is going through unprecedented change. In September, figures revealed a record 158 breweries had opened in the UK in the previous 12 months.