Hey team Yakima, very excited in BBF to brew with these frozen fresh hops. Can you give us a little insight behind the scenes at Yakima Chief, how did you pull this off and get these green beauties to our isle?
Fresh hop beer is such an important part of the culture in the Pacific North West and something which hasn’t really been able to be shared outside of the region historically. As it's something we are so passionate about, we started looking for ways to resolve that. We worked for a couple of years with one of our growers who also produces excellent blueberries that they ship far and wide using a special flash-freezing technique. They used the same process to flash freeze the hops as individual cones which keeps them in a state of being mere minutes old until they are defrosted. We then shipped these across at -18c, directly into a frozen logistics network to ensure they reached you in perfect condition.
What can our drinkers expect from frozen hops, any major differences to T-90 pellets?
Freshness is the main thing. The fact they haven’t been dried at all means all the flavours you would usually expect from the hops will be more vibrant. The stone fruit / tropical character of Azacca will be more pronounced, like fresh mango and peach, in the same way as UK fresh hop beers have more pronounced hedgerow fruit flavours. Expect the smell of a hop field jumping out of your glass.
In the photo attached you can see the hop flower sections, can you explain what we are seeing here?
Through the centre of the cone you have the Strig, or stem of the cone, and coming off that are the Bracteoles and Bract. Bract is effectively the leaves of the cone and the Bracteoles are the structures inside the leaves which give the cone structure whilst protecting the Lupulin glands. Bracteoles also produce a portion of the hop oils and polyphenols. Finally, along the centre are the Lupulin glands, this is the yellow part that most of the flavour comes from. Lupulin is where the resins and essential oils live and is the part most exciting to hoppy beers.
Check out the result - FRESH LINES 4.2% UBER PALE - hopped with fresh frozen Azacca