English | Deutsch

Targeting the BrauBeviale with innovative brews

No, we don’t want to (nor can we) compete with our own clients. And this November, nonetheless on our stand at the BrauBeviale, there will for the first time be not only established products from our clients, but also beers from our own brew-kettle in Freising. After all, how better for a brewing pilot plant to demonstrate its capabilities than with beer?

So that the two “Brew Center beers” really turn out to be something rather special for the visitors to the fair, our colleagues in Freising have delved deep into their box of tricks: they hand-harvested some of the hops, and subjected them to special treatment. They’re also venturing to try out a hop variety that so far no one has ever used for brewing. Which is why in mid-September we were hosted by two hop-farmers in the picturesque Hallertau region – each of them with a very different project.

Station 1: nitrogen wizardry

Chemistry lessons and I never really got on. But even for a chemistry refusenik like me there’s something exciting about liquid nitrogen – so I was correspondingly gratified to learn how our colleagues in Freising have preserved the hops for their Pilsner beer. In addition to traditional hop pellets, for the fair beer Brewmaster Johannes uses green hops, which come totally fresh and undried from Anton Wittmann’s hop garden – chosen with the professional help of Anja Bentele of the IGN. But because, after all, the hops first have to be transported from the Hallertau to Freising, and Johannes’s diary is full, the fresh hops have to be preserved in some way. The solution: nitrogen and dry ice. This is admittedly not an established process, but the Brew Center would hardly have merited the appellation of   the world’s most sophisticated pilot plant if it weren’t a crucible for innovations. And the concept sounds pretty logical to me: directly after harvesting, a colleague immerses the hop cones in the nitrogen until they’ve been cooled down to approximately -200°C. They are then pounded (this is not difficult with deep-frozen cones), stored on dry ice and transported. Quite incidentally, during this experiment (because that’s what it is), we get some pretty impressive pictures. Did the hops like the nitrogen bath as much as was hoped? That we shall find out when we taste the beer at the BrauBeviale in November.

Station 2: a unique hop variety

At the second farmer we visit during the day, the focus is less on the method of processing than on the hops themselves, which are unique. We harvest them at the hop farmer Jakob Schauer , whose fields are home to an experimental hop garden of the HGV (German Hop Processing Cooperative). Here, individual vines bearing new hop varieties are planted, cultivated and evaluated every year. “This breeding programme was at first not much more than ‘the hobby of a hop obsessive’,” relates Dr. Florian Schüll of the HGV with a laugh. “For a long time, new varieties were being created only at the Hop Research Centre in Hüll, so Jakob Schauer was really experimenting simply because he loves hops. Meanwhile, however, hop varieties from private breeders are also gaining in popularity, and there, of course, you’ve got a great foundation when farmers have been actively engaged in this endeavour for a lengthy period.” But even with plenty of experience and green fingers for new varieties success can never be taken for granted: about one out of 1000 new varieties is “not at all bad” and actually makes it to the market, say the two hop experts. So here, too, our colleagues from the Steinecker Brew Center are authentic pioneers, giving the new variety the first chance to lend a beer a rather special aroma.

What does it taste like? I’m just as keen to find out as you are. Which is why I hope we’ll be meeting up on 13 November in Hall 7A at the Brew Center’s tasting bar  for a Nitro-Gene Porter or a Cross-Breed Pilsner!

Share on Pinterest
Your Comment

All (*) marked fields are mandatory fields