Brewers go hop mad

The hops season ended recently and already we’re seeing beers that capture, in various forms, the wonderful aromas and flavours of freshly harvested hops.

From Foster’s there’s Cascade First Harvest Ale, brewed with fresh Tasmanian hops flowers. And from Lion Nathan, there’s James Squire Hop Thief, brewed at the Malt Shover Brewery and making a return after last year’s absence.

I have samples of each on the way for review in the next week or two. But closer to home, the Wig & Pen brewpub, Civic, offers three extraordinary ales brewed on the premises and served from the tap – including one that’s cask conditioned and hand pumped in the real ale style.

These are idiosyncratic beers and a little goes a long way. But they’re beautifully made. And they express various hops characteristics – aroma, flavour and bitterness – from a range of hop varieties, added at different stages of the brewing process to a diversity of malts.

The varieties include Golden Promise, American Simcoe, Tasmanian Hallertau and Tasmanian Galaxy (from Bushy Park hop gardens).

Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2009