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Southwold: Adnams issues call of the wild

12:00 02 September 2014

Adnams head brewer Fergus Fitzgerald examines an exuberant hop plant situated outside the brewery

Adnams head brewer Fergus Fitzgerald examines an exuberant hop plant situated outside the brewery's Whisky Dunnage.

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A Suffolk brewer has called on gardeners and nature-lovers to help it locate wild and off-the-beat hops as it prepares to launch a new beer.

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Southwold-based Adnams is appealing for donations of wild and garden hops and is urging beer lovers to report sightings of them growing to help create its new Wild Hop beer, due to be launched this autumn.

The recipe for the new beer - which is set to be an amber pale ale - requires hops that are freshly picked and that have skipped the drying process. The Suffolk brewer is making a plea to members of the public to let them know if they have hops growing in their garden which they are willing to donate, or if they know where wild hops are located. To ensure a truly fresh green hop beer, the collected hops will be frozen until the brewing date and will be mixed with a few tamed garden and commercially grown hops. There is just one brew of the Wild Hop beer, which will be in pubs in the autumn. The beer will be available in bottle from Adnams Cellar & Kitchen Stores.

Head brewer Fergus Fitzgerald said: “We are very excited about this new beer as it is the first time that we’ve used wild and green hops. By sourcing hops in this way, there will be an unknown mix of varieties to work with and each is likely to be grown in varying soil types – which means it’s all slightly unpredictable, but that’s what makes it so interesting!

“By concentrating heavily on the hop flavours, we will create a brew full of fresh grassy, citrus and pine flavours and aromas - a true taste of East Anglia. We have already spotted a few wild hops growing and have the landowners’ permission to pick them, but it would be great to get a few more. We’ve promised to give anyone who donates garden or wild hops some of the finished beer as a thank you for their foraging.”

Adnams is looking for hops picked early in September, before they start turning from green to brown. It is also important that the hops have only been sprayed with food-friendly pesticides. If you have hops on your land or spot them in hedgerows, contact the Hop Spot Team at belinda.jennings@adnams.co.uk or tweet @Adnams.

It is asking that growers and foragers pick the plant’s green cones, leaving the bine in tact so that the plant will regrow next year.

If you have hops on your land or have seen them growing in the hedgerows, please contact the Hop Spot Team at Adnams by emailing belinda.jennings@adnams.co.uk or tweeting @Adnams. Adnams will then let you know where and when to deliver your hops. If you spot wild hops, Adnams can assess whether they are on land which is common or public before picking. The brewer is keen to stress that if the hops are on private land pickers must seek permission of the landowner. The brewer is also working closely with conservationists on the suitability of each location for collecting wild hops on common land.

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