XT Brewing, an independent brewery based on the Oxfordshire-Buckinghamshire border, is one of a select few breweries to have been given the chance to make a beer with two new varieties of hops from the Charles Faram Hop Development programme.
The beer, a 5% ABV pale ale named Brit Hop, will debut at this year's Great British Beer Festival, which takes place at London Olympia on 8-12 August.
The hops, known only as CF160 and CF182, are the result of Charles Faram’s rigorous breeding programme, which seeks to find plants that are extremely resistant to disease and pests.
The aim is to produce varieties that are capable of rivalling US and southern hemisphere hops in terms of flavour and durability. Varieties that have come out of the programme in the past include new British hops such as Jester, Olicana, Minstrel and Archer.
XT head brewer Russell Taylor said it was a “major thrill” to be able to brew with the new varieties.
"We've known since we started brewing that hops from the US, Australia and New Zealand, with those punchy, tropical fruit flavours, are hugely popular with beer drinkers,” he said. If this breeding programme can bring forth a British answer to hops like that, I think it'll be a game-changer for everyone who drinks, makes or sells beer."
Ongoing hop development
The Charles Faram Hop Development programme is run by Britain's oldest hop merchant Charles Faram & Co, which was founded in 1865. Its ongoing hop development programme has been running for more than 10 years.
A spokesperson for Charles Faram & Co said: “We see our breeding programme as being in the true spirit of British innovation. Like an inventor in a garden shed; mildly eccentric but still managing to achieve results, we are punching above our weight as a nation and also as a small company doing some crazy things with hops."