Sunday, 25 November 2012

                                                         Episode IV
                                          A NEW HOP
                     It is a dark time for the Empire. Although British Brewers
                          are now producing beers to rival their US cousins, the British hop
                     growers have been driven underground, protecting their diminishing industry.
             Evading and rebelling against the trend, a group of Hop Merchants led by Charles Faram 
  and Co Ltd have established have established a stronghold in the English county of Worcestershire.
Working in secret they have developed a super hop variety to take on the USA. It is time, now the .....
 Scene 1: The Ale House Chelmsford
Holding back a great tide of constantly flowing beer (and occasionally falling on the floor and covering it) a secret is hinted at. A rumour. There may be a way to repel, compete with the rebellion new world.
Cut to ...

Scene 2: My house. Sitting in front of the tv, laptop open.
"What's this ?"
"Why, it's an e-mail from Liberty Beer !"
Tentatively I open the communique ...
It reads ...
I close the laptop, intrigued.
The Strike Back has begun.
 Scene 3: Wednesday 21st November - London
Leaving work I take the train to London town. Fighting and weaving my way through on-coming hordes of x-wing fighters  commuters, I manage to negotiate safe passage to my destination the Death Star  the Earl Of Essex , Islington.

 Scene 4: The Earl Of Essex
An expectant crowd gathers around the bar. First to speak is Admiral Ackbar Justin from Liberty Beer:
   "The fight-back has begun. A new beer, brewed with a new hop, and you gathered are the first to know its name: Jester !!!"
Thunderous applause (probably).
"To tell you more let me introduce the brewer, General Antilles  Justin from Moor Beer "
  "Friends" he began "In association with  Charles Faram & Co Ltd we are able to bring you  today a beer brewed with a hop to rival anything that  US or Antipodes has brought to the party. It's name is: The Empire Strikes Back !"
"Mon Mothma Will from Charles Faram has travelled across many galaxies up from Malvern to be here today. And he has the secret with him"
   A hush fell.
Will stepped up onto the podium bar stool. In has hand he had a small packet of green hop cones.
"Here is the future, our future regained, our heritage returned. I have in my hand the Jester hop, the product years of work. Many hop varieties were tested to bring you this today".
"Now taste the future!"

 Scene 5: The bar at the Earl Of Essex. Glasses filled with a pale yellow liquid are passed around.
We toast the future.
We taste the future.
I bring the glass to my lips and I am struck by the aroma.
Rhubarb and custard with a hint of lemon and vanilla. Nice.
I taste.
More rhubarb, more pronounced this time and with the addition of stewed gooseberries. This is a very British beer with a very British taste.
"Of course" I exclaim "we fight back on our terms, with our flavours."
I understand.

Scene 6: Later. A table toward the rear of Mos Eisley Cantina the Earl Of Essex.
I join a table with a Corellian smuggler and a Wookiee  Justin from Moor and Will from Charles Faram. They are discussing the hop.
The words are beyond me and my simple upbringing on my Uncle's moisture farm on Tatooine background in banking but in front of me, in a bag, is Jester. The Force behind the Empire's return.
I know that this is the just the beginning and I know that this is just the first wave but tonight, in a London neighbourhood the Empire Strikes Back !

Thanks to Steve at Liberty Beer for the invite, being an all-round good bloke, and letting me have a copy of the original artwork, particularly as I neglected to take any pictures of the beer or pump-clip!
Thanks to Thomas Marshall for his contacts and without whom I wouldn't have been in a position to taste this.
Thank too to all the lads from Moor beer and Will from Charles Faram for being involved in this and taking the time to talk to me about the beer and the hop. Cheers guys.
Additional thanks to Matt Curtis, great beery friend and fellow blogger, for diverting me to Craft Beer, Islington afterwards. You can read his account of the evening here.
For another report you may also want to read this by the lovely Sophie Atherton, from whose hands I first smelled the Jester hop (distinctly hempy with a hint of lemon in case you're wondering).
Lastly to Andy Parker for the image of the pump-clip. Thanks fella.

It was a great evening with a wonderful beer and a superb crowd of people. Everyone was very friendly and it was nice to put faces to people I had only previously become acquainted with on twitter. I love you guys !!! (Gushes)

The End?
It's The Beginning.                                


  1. I still get Saaz and Baby Galena notes! Twas a fun launch. Hopcas Studios did a grand job.