HOPPY DAYS

The Gazette (Derwent Valley) - - FRONT PAGE - ROGER HAN­SON

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.

Pic­tures: SAM ROSEWARNE

IN­TER­NA­TIONAL CUS­TOMERS: Bushy Park Es­tates’ Owen John­ston.

FLAVOUR SAVIOUR: Hops at the dry­ing stage.

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