Local Beer, Local Hops

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Yokohama Brewery in the Bashamichi area has been brewing fine hometown lagers and ales for almost twenty years. It often tries to use locally grown products in its beers to support the community. On September 29th it debuted a special brew featuring a product that you likely didn’t know was even being grown in the city: hops, the crop responsible for giving beer its bitterness and aroma.

Furukawara Taku, who runs the Aromaful Vege Farm in Kohoku Ward, is likely the only person in city limits cultivating hops. On August 25th the brewery staff visited his farm and helped harvest about 2kg of Yokohama Cascade hops. Within 24 hours those fresh hops were being used in the brewing of a new seasonal, Yokohama IPA. As picked hops deteriorate quickly, not waiting more than a day to use them is critical.

When making beer, it is very common to use dried hops that have been processed into pellets to preserve them for later use. Hops fresh from the vine are only available at harvest time (in the late summer/early fall) and using them requires much planning between the brewer and the farm to time everything just right. The brewer has to be ready to use the hops immediately.

Yokohama Brewery’s head brewer, Fukata Yu, tells us, “It’s rare to find a beer made in Yokohama with fresh hops. They give the beer a pleasant bitterness and an excellent aroma. Citrusy aromatics mix with a refreshing grassy note. I hope you enjoy tasting our creation.” Cheers, Mr. Fukata! We most certainly will.

We probably don’t need to tell you that these fresh hop beers are popular and will disappear quickly. You can only buy the beer at the Yokohama Brewery and at the Fresh Hop Fest at Yokohama Creative City on 10/21.

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