This is where the whole brewery idea started, with the hop growing – the combining of our long term horticultural experience and passion for organic growing, a fascination with the way that different plant varieties bring such a range and depth of flavour to our food and drink, along with over 2 decades of home brewing experience.
Sure, we enjoy beers with typical ‘US’, ‘Czech’, ‘New Zealand’ or ‘British’ hop flavours and aromas. But why not, with the potential afforded from a microbrewery on a smallholding, take this further? Why shouldn’t hops too speak of that unique combination of environment and microclimate that a winemaker refers to as ‘terroir’? Why not find hop varieties that will produce well in our unspoilt and unique corner of West Devon, between the Tavy and the Tamar?
So a single hop planted in 2010 expanded to a trial area of 12 different varieties in 2012, another 2 in 2015 and winter 2017 saw us establishing a full scale area.Though now having difficulty with a couple of varieties that were initially successful, our ultimate aim is still to be self-sufficient in hops, which would perhaps make us the 1st brewery of modern times to be so.
As one of the first new-wave of growers or handful of brewers to find our way into hop growing, we’ve had to innovate and adapt to develop a growing system suited to both our deeply held organic convictions, and to an environment and climate very different to that of the traditional British hop growing industry.
And we’ve loved the challenge of it.
Ultimately weather dependant, the harvests of the last 3 years have ranged in providing us with between 60% and 80% of the following year’s brewing needs. September 2021, after another wierd weather year, has bought us the best quality hops we’ve ever had and around 70% of what we’ll need for the year ahead. And every so often, just to remind ourselves where we’re aiming, we do a brew which is with entirely our own hops. And oh wow! they’re good.
So maybe the flavours of each year’s brew’s will not be precisely uniform, exact replicas, time after time after time – there’s other brewers doing that extremely well. We want our beers to tell you what the summer was like, here in one of the most beautiful places in all of England.
We want to share with you a Taste of the Tamar Valley.