THE hop harvest is in full swing in the Derwent Valley, with brewers from around the country and across the world making their pilgrimages to inspect the crop.
About 40 Australian brewers secure their hops from Bushy Park, and Tasmanian-grown hops can be found flavouring beer in almost every country in Europe, says a Bushy Park hop grower.
The harvest of Hop Products Australia’s Tasmanian crops grabs brewers’ attention, with the company hoping to have the season wrapped up in the first week of next month.
HPA sales and marketing manager Owen Johnston said 60 per cent of the estate’s crop was exported to more than 26 countries. The balance is for domestic demand.
“Today we have brewers from Poland visiting to look at our hops and a tomorrow a brewer from Germany,” Mr Johnston said. “Our main export destination is the US, and the hops go from the biggest brewers to brew pubs.”
Hops are a key ingredient in beer, providing flavour and stability in the brew.
Mr Johnston said HPA varieties, especially the Tasmanian-grown Galaxy hops, were popular with brewers because of the unique flavours and aroma they give beer.
Mr Johnston said the estate was on a sustainable trend.
“Overall beer consumption maybe tapering a little, but increasingly some styles of beer demand higher hop content,” he said.
Bushy Park Estates manager and production agronomist Oliver Ward said it had been a challenging season because of the dry weather. This year Mr Ward estimates the grower will harvest between 550 and 600 tonnes from 225ha.
“The hop yield is up from last year because modern varieties like Galaxy not only give unique flavour but higher yield,” Mr Ward said.
Mr Ward said the crop was monitored in an on-site laboratory to determine optimum harvest dates.
Kiln drier supervisor Phillip Smith, who has been working at the estate for 39 years, said the crop had come up well considering the difficult growing season.
INTERNATIONAL CUSTOMERS: Bushy Park Estates’ Owen Johnston.
FLAVOUR SAVIOUR: Hops at the drying stage.