Hopping To It For ‘Fresh Hops At New World’
The hops have been picked, the beers have been brewed, and now the trucks are chilling down for the final step in the return of Fresh Hops at New World – when the very freshest of beers will hit shelves again in April*.
Eight of New Zealand’s top breweries – Baylands**, Behemoth**, Epic, Garage Project, Liberty, Parrotdog, Sawmill and Urbanaut – are working with New World to give supermarket shoppers access to a limited edition range of beers brewed using freshly-picked New Zealand hops.
The beers’ super-fresh origins mean they are available in very limited quantities and for just a short time each year, but are fast becoming one of the most anticipated releases on the beer calendar.
Chris Anderson is the merchandise manager for liquor at Foodstuffs and part of the team bringing fresh hop beers to New World supermarkets nationwide – something that has only been made possible over the past few years.
“Timing and temperature are critical to the recipe, and part of New World’s commitment is to transport the fresh beer from each brewery as soon as it’s ready to more than 140 stores around the country through a constantly cold supply chain. This ensures every brew reaches the beer chiller shelves in perfect condition.
“Our brewers, and their fans, demand quality and it is important to get the logistics spot on at every step of the way with these delicate beers. Essentially, we are extending the care usually shown to fragile produce to the beer category, and everyone from the hop growers to the brewers, to the in-store liquor managers, have an important role to play.”
From early March, brewing teams raced to top hop-growing regions like Nelson, sometimes with just a few days’ notice, to collect their chosen hop cones as they were picked fresh from the bine.
Many then airfreighted their precious cargo back by chartered plane within mere hours of harvest, as it’s essential that the fragile, and often volatile, hops are kept pristine to get the very best of their flavours and aromas.
The continued growth in popularity of New Zealand hops, and consumer excitement around fresh hop beers, makes it an exciting time for the New Zealand hop growing industry and brewers, says Luke Nicholas, founder of Epic Beer. So much so, the Epic team have made their first fresh hop beer in five years.
“It’s no secret I’m a fan of brewing for big hop flavours. At Epic, we typically source our hops from the United States, but our local farmers are doing a phenomenal job developing the New Zealand hop industry with some amazingly unique and aromatic varietals available right in our own backyard.
“We only get one chance a year to harvest, so it’s a huge exercise to fly the hops up fresh from Nelson, and keep them consistently chilled the whole way to the brewery, ready to use within 24 hours of picking.”
Receiving the fresh product into the brewery, and finally getting them into the tank, sees many smiling (and relieved) faces. “It’s easily a favourite time of year for many of our team.”
Once the super-fresh beers are canned and ready, the New World cold-chain kicks into action using a trusted delivery team and temperature-controlled network to keep the beers chilled fresh from the brewery until the moment they are snapped up by eager shoppers in store.
Quantities of each beer will be extremely limited, given the prized nature of the fresh hop ingredient, and factoring in that more of the liquid volume is lost in fresh hop brewing compared to brewing with the dried and pelletised hops used year-round.
The Fresh Hops at New World beers have proven very popular in recent years, and more and more shoppers are discovering their love for the fresh hop taste. So those wanting to taste-test their way through the range will need to get in quick!
More information on the full Fresh Hops at New World range can be found at www.newworld.co.nz/discover/beer/fresh-hops
*Expected April 21. Due to super fresh nature of Fresh Hop product and NW cold supply chain the exact date may differ slightly from store to store.
**Baylands and Behemoth fresh hop beers available in North Island stores only.