WITH the 2013 hop harvest well underway, head rewer of Arkell’s Brewery, Alex Arkell, visited Herefordshire-based hop growers Mark and Lesley Andrews of Townend Farm, Ledbury.

Along with Andrew Whalley of hop merchants Charles Faram, Alex was keen to discuss this year’s hop harvest with the Andrews as he’s been using their Cascade hop, grown last year, in his latest brew which is part of a five month brewing experiment by Arkell’s.

“It’s Arkell’s 170th anniversary this year so we are producing five 4.2% ABV beers using the same malt recipe with English Maris Otter for each, but using five carefully selected hop varieties, one in each brew,” he said.

“We are doing this to give drinkers the chance to learn how much hops influence beer flavour and so far the response has been fantastic.”

Cascade is the fourth hop of five Alex has selected, the first three being Admiral, Pilot and Bramling. The final hop ale, being brewed in October, will use Challenger. Arkell’s are producing 30 barrels of each hop beer.

“It’s important to us that we know where our ingredients come from so I asked our hop merchants to arrange a visit to the Andrews at Townend Farm during hop harvest.”