We have created "Fresh Hop -2021-" again this year, using freshly harvested hops, an annual tradition.
With the cooperation of Hokuto Hops, a hop producer in Hokuto City, hops are harvested early in the morning and fresh hops are immediately used for brewing at a brewery in Kawagoe City.
▼Hop harvesting operation
Hops are wired between poles and guided to grow upward on the vines. At harvest time, the vines are cut from the top and dropped.
This year we harvested hops grown in a new field.
The harvested hops are separated from the vines and flowers by machine in the processing area, and finally visually checked and removed by hand, except for the hops. Because of the small size of the hops used in this project, the sorting process was extremely difficult! The work was successfully completed despite the screams as they came one after another like space invaders approaching at high speed.
Vines, discolored hops, insects, etc. are removed.
(Mr. Sato of COEDO working silently with an unusually serious expression on his face)
Hops (ball flowers)
(The yellow granular resin called lupulin is found at the base of the hops and is the source of the beer's aroma and bitterness.)
Hops are harvested around August, about 40 days after flowering, based on the maturity of the hops.
At this time, the schedule is quite tight, as poor timing for harvesting can lead to deterioration of hop quality. It also depends on the weather, so it must be done according to the pace of hop growth and the weather. This year, the harvest was in jeopardy due to continuous rain before the harvest day, but we were blessed with good weather on the day of the harvest.
▼ Preparation immediately at COEDO BREWERY
Fresh hops were brought back to Kawagoe and brewed at COEDO BREWERY THE RESTAURANT's Blue House. This time, Mr. Kobayashi from Hokuto Hops also participated in the brewing.
COEDO often uses pellet hops, but in the case of fresh hops, the quantity of the target is very large, and the man-hours required to expose the lupulin and improve extraction efficiency are also high.
▼1st wort/first wort
This beer is based on a golden ale style, with a good balance of hop aroma and bitterness. The malt and yeast are kept simple, and the result is a refreshing hop aroma and bitterness with a gentle sweetness and richness like apricots.
▼ About Hop Cultivation in Yamanashi
The Kohoku region of Yamanashi, a neighboring prefecture of Saitama, has been the center of hop production since 1939, since the establishment of a self-sufficiency system for domestically produced hops, and has a representative hop variety called "Kaikogane," which was the first domestically produced hop variety to be registered.
Hokuto City, located at the southern foot of Mt. Yatsugatake, is about 600 meters above sea level and was once known as a major hop-growing area because of its cool climate, which was found to be an excellent growing region for hop cultivation.
The scale of domestic hop production peaked around 1968, but with the liberalization of agricultural products, the scale of domestic hop production shrank drastically in favor of foreign hops, and farmers began to leave the area at an accelerated pace, and hop cultivation was about to come to an end.
In 2014, hop cultivation began again in Hokuto City, with the cultivation of "Kaikogane" being passed on to Mr. Kobayashi, the founder of Hokuto Hops, by enthusiastic growers. In response to the diversifying demands of the craft beer industry, Hokuto Hops is not only growing hops, but is also engaged in breeding original hops, making a significant contribution to the improvement of domestic hop production.
Hokuto Hops HP: http://hokutohops.com/
(COEDO team and Hokuto Hopps, with a quick snapshot)
Fresh Hop -2021-" Ingredients
Ingredients: malt, hops (Hokuto City, Yamanashi Prefecture)
Beer style: Golden Ale
Alcohol content: 5%