Opening the coolroom door, wafting in the scented herbs, we had more hop then a paddock full of locusts. Would it be the Pride of Ringwood, or would it be something more exotic? Keeping hops in the depths of dark refrigeration, preserves the delicate flavours and aromas from light, heat and importantly, air. A modern brewery has many such hop varieties to call upon.
A good hop is floral in the hopsack with a robust bitternes and a mild aroma in the kettle. Pride of Ringwood, the great Aussie allrounder (are there any left?) is the obvious choice. It adds a pine-nettle like fragrance to the South Australian nectar, combining with the decidedly fruity Australian strain of microbe to make the cloudy but fine sparkling ale.
A great hop is all of that, plus an x-factor - a Shane Warne mystery ball, a Beckham bender, a spiciness/Spicy girliness, a citrus fruitiness which sets ales apart. Think Sierra Nevada Pale Ale , Little Creatures Pale or Williams Pale Ale from De-bortoli, nicely chilled on a summer's day. Put down your blondes, or your dry's, these brews are the real hopping deal.
Trev was wheeling out the big guns as we browsed the selection in the depths of the coolroom. "Forget your P.O.R." he mutters, spelling the letters out in a drawl, "I'm goin' exotic" he adds. "Get the Liberty out of the brewhouse fridge will ya" he barks in sudden seriousness. I run off in search of the noblest of hop.
The Liberty hop, imported from prime hop growing country in southerly New Zealand, bred out of England via America, crossed with other hops of lesser breeding for growing purposes (perish the thought) is still...defiantly noble. In fact, it has more recent nobility then an English landholder!
In the Williams Ale Liberty adds a glorious lemon myrtle fragrance to an otherwise stock standard pale ale, elevating it from second eleven into 700 wicket territory. It combines with the quality malt, wheat and selected yeasts to produce a fruity, delectable brew, a brew that keeps you coming back for more.
Trev has the look in his eye - the glint of something special on it's way.
For me though, I'm travelling a more traditional route to amber glory. I'm having none of this exotic foreign stuffy nobility, I'm sticking to the good old faithfull Aussie Pride of R. in my Coopers Clone. We might not be noble, but we are still men of gumption. Come on Aussies! The world needs us! Underneath the Southern Cross we stand...Australia, you ****** beauty!
Williams Pale Ale. Crafted by Trev the brewer (with help from Woodsy, Mandy et al)