What makes them better or worse than hops from any other country? Well I think the answer is; nothing! It was not long ago I heard a brewer say there's no reason that British hops can't be used to match beers from across the globe. I also truly believe that used in the right combination and with the right amount, British hops can create a beer which can equal and rival in flavour the likes of German and Belgian beers, and even those from New Zealand and the USA.
With this in mind me and Matt Lovatt (@Braukerl) formulated our latest homebrew recipe with, shock horror, 100% British Hops! As they're saying these days - We gotta use em, or lose em! Which hops did we use? We went for Admiral, Pilgrim and First Gold with the big alpha acid profiles of 14.32, 12.68 and 8.34 respectively. Additions were as follows:
15g Admiral for first wort hopping
20g Admiral @60mins
20g Admiral @20mins
40g First Gold @5mins
60g First Gold and 80g Pilgrim for after boil steep
Add in a mash consisting of Maris Otter, Munich Malt and Carapils and ferment with some West Coast Danstar bry-97 yeast and you have a combo for a brilliant British Pale Ale.
So what's it like? Well it has a really lively, summertime aroma; lemon sherbet, orange rind and peaches jumping forward bringing up some biscuit malts, hay and straw. The flavour is really delicious, and I'm not trying to be big headed just because we made it, but it really does taste good! Really sweet caramel flavours are first to hit the tip of the tongue which then lead on to a refreshing bitter body and bite. Citrusy, grassy, light and perfectly balanced... sweet candy sugars and caramelized peaches, British hops are a truly good thing indeed.
To quote a brewer I gave a bottle to; "You two have succeeded in two factors principally; created a beer that does not taste/feel like 5.7% and does not taste/feel like English hops. V impressed with how you've showcased English hops, v impressive, wonderful flavour and balance.. Honestly wouldn't think it is English"
Ok... maybe I am getting a little big headed now, but I think if you use British hops like this (like many do!) then I reckon you're allowed to be just a little bit proud...