Hops and starting core range of beers.

So my recipes use expensive and hard to get hold of hops...

The hop merchants have none of these hops left this year...

We should, however, be able to get most of the hops we require when the respective harvests from NZ and and the USA arrive. This means no Citra, Sorachi Ace or Amarillo until 2013, no Pacific Gem until June/July and probably no Nelson Sauvin at all. This make me want to cry.

Nelson is my favourite hop at the moment and South Seas Pale relies heavily on a load of Nelson dry hopping.

So why are we struggling to get the Nelson Sauvin hop? Well, like me, every other brewer it seems likes this hop too. Charles Faram have a consignment of it arriving in the middle of the year but every brewer and his dog have put in a pre-order for it. Charles Faram will allocate these hops based on previous orders of the Nelson Sauvin hop.  This is quite reasonable in my view - you can't have established brewers/beers not getting their hop for some new upstart ... I like Kipling too! If this continues year upon year though it is a bit Catch 22 as new brewers will not be able to get any so have no track record so will not be allocated any etc...

So I have committed £1000 of our start up money to pre-order 65Kg of this most wonderful of hops, which is enough to brew South Seas Pale once a month for a year. If I get 10% of this I will be happy, 25% overjoyed and anything above 50% I'll fall off my chair in delirious fits of giggles.

So what is happening to our other core beers...in fact, what are our planned core beers? Time to divulge a bit of information.

South Seas Pale, a 5% or so pale ale with Pacific Gem and Nelson Sauvin, will be replaced by another pale if we can't get the Nelson.

Five O'Clock Shadow a 7% or so IPA now reformulated to have Apollo Summit Cascade and Columbus (all American hops that can be sourced at the moment)

Sunshine Saison a 6% dry Belgian style beer with lemony hops, (Pacific Gem to start and Sorachi Ace from the new year), a few interesting spices and a French Saison yeast.

Decadence Stout a 5% full bodied stout crammed full of interesting grains.

After the new year:

Fade to Black a 7% Cascadian Dark Ale. This is the beer that has the Sorachi Ace, Citra and Amarillo.

We will be casking the stout and the pale ale.  Everything will be available in bottles and hopefully we will getting out some kegs of the Saison and IPA.

If this interests you you can sample some of the prototypes at the Rake Bar on Sunday 22nd April. We will have Sunshine Saison (as it should be) and Fade to Black. We will also have a single hop Junga Pale ale. There will be more details in another blog including times etc.

New artwork for Fade to Black and Sunshine Saison below. Feedback is as ever welcome.