While we were in Tasmania we sampled a lot of very lovely beer, but for some reason it never occurred to me to think about where the ingredients had been grown… last weekend on a visit to an English brewery, Greene King in Bury St Edmunds we were shown a jar of Tasmanian hot pellets which were used to make various brews. Gosh, I exclaimed, Tasmanian hops! No wonder the beer tastes so good.
I don’t know for certain, but it might be that they were grown on Bushy Park Estates which are in the Derwent Valley. Certainly when we went on our little tour we went up the valley, so we must have been close by. It’s just over thirty miles north of Hobart, and is described as the birthplace of Australian hops. I learned that hops have been growing in Tasmania, at Bushy Park since 1822, nearly two hundred years ago. A farmer from Kent with the unusual name of William Shoobridge was responsible, but it was his magnificently named son, Ebenezer Shoobridge who established the Bushy Park plantation.
I didn’t realise that hops are not native to Britain, but came originally from China, and it was our cousins (as I like to think of people from the Netherlands) who first had the hoppy good idea of adding them to beer, and then very kindly exported them to us.
The hops I saw were Galaxy™, which apparently has “strong passion fruit, peach and citrus characters” . We were able to open the jar and sniff, and yes, the peach and passion fruit aroma came bursting out! It was like a little breath of Tasmania had flown out of the bottle like a genie summoning happy memories
Here’s a link to some more information about them, from HPA, which is the company which now owns Bushy Park: