Hop growing scheme to produce Cardiff’s own homebrewed beer

March 25, 2013 No Comments »
Sam Holt from Cardiff Transition, who is selling hop growing kits that wile help produce Taff Temptress.

Sam Holt from Cardiff Transition, who is selling hop growing kits that wile help produce the Taff Temptress.

It will be Cardiff’s very own homebrewed beer – made from hops grown in gardens across the city.

More than 30 beer enthusiasts in the city have signed up to a new scheme to grow hops to be harvested and turned into a truly local brew later in the year.

The project was launched in Cardiff by Sam Holt, 30, who was inspired by the success of hop-growers in London, where the scheme originated.

Local microbreweries have expressed interest in using the hops that are grown within the community to create a Cardiff beer, which has been provisionally named the Taff Temptress.

Sam said: “Cardiff used to be a traditional place to grow hops. They are quite easy to grow. It is something different and it gets local people to enjoy what they are growing.”

Packs of DIY hop-growing kits were distributed on Sunday. The group has chosen to grow the Prima Donna variety of hop, since this is particularly suited to urban farming.

“Ordinary hops grow to between 25 and 40ft and so harvesting them in the city is quite hard,” Sam said.

The Prima Donna, however, will only reach 8ft, so can easily be grown against a trellis.

The project chimes in with a resurgent interest in artisan brewing. In 2008, there were 500 microbreweries in the UK. Last year, that number had increased to over 1,000.

Simon Doherty, 33, who runs the Artisan Brewery in Pontcanna, Cardiff, highlighted the importance of projects that encourage hops to be grown locally.

He said: “UK hop growers have suffered because breweries are buying from overseas. It is good to push the idea we don’t need to look too far.

“Small breweries can accommodate small amount of hops. They deteriorate very quickly. The older the hops get, the less they import their flavour into the beer. It is very rare you can brew with completely fresh hops.”

John Reynolds, 33, from Cardiff, collected his hops on Sunday. He is looking forward to the challenge posed by the project.

He said: “I grow my own vegetables, so I thought it would be a good project, but before I heard about this scheme, the idea of growing hops never really crossed my mind. It is something interesting, something different.”

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