The annual hop harvest is a special time for New Zealand's craft brewers. As autumn rolls around the harvest kicks in for hop farms in the Nelson region. Hop bines are cut and the hop flowers, or cones, for the year are processed.
Usually this means stripping flowers from the hop bines and kilning them to reduce moisture to between 8 and 10%, milling and compressing into pellets and vaccum packing the pallets to retain freshness for use throughout the year.
However during this busy time, NZ Hops makes an extra effort to swiftly pick, chill and ship fresh hops, sometimes called wet or green hops, to breweries across the country and at Brew Union Brewing Co we are very appreciative customers! See a video from NZ hops about their green hops here.
What makes a green hopped beer different?
Green hops impart more green, grassy and fresh hop flavours to beer. In addition to the harvest, the brewing process is different too. Time is critical with fresh hops as they spoil quickly. Green hops are spread in the mash-tun (used as a hop back for once a year) and hot wort poured over them at the end of the boil. This is then cooled to retain as much of the volatile, unique green-hopped flavours and aromas as possible.
Brew Union's Brewing Co's green hopped beer, Turbo Juice was first brewed as a pilot in 2016, a hoppy strong lager with a simple malt profile allowing a generous flameout addition of zesty Motueka hops shine.
2018 saw us step up in scale with a subtle tweak to the recipe, and our first commercial batch of Turbo Juice was released.
This year we shifted from fresh Motueka to Taiheke Hops (New Zealand grown Cascade) and the result has a fresh citrus aroma, a delcious grapefruit marmalade flavour supported by a modest malt base and a crisp finish, coming in at a fairly sessionable 6.4(5)%
This year, for the first time, Brew Union Brewing Co has joined Wellington's annual Hopstock fresh hop festival, where fresh hopped breweries beers are matched up to craft beer bars across the capital. We are thrilled to be paired up with the team at Kelburn Village Pub where Turbo Juice will be tapped alongside a selection of Brew Union beers from May 1st-6th.
So if you happen to be in Wellington for the week nip in to KVP say hi to the superb theam there and get amongst it!