On the morning of Monday 29th August, Budweiser Budvar’s technologists helped with the harvest of the cones of Saaz “poloraný červeňák” on the “Splav“ hop field in the cadastre of the hop-growing municipality of Blšany, subsequently brewing 800 hectolitres of BUDWEISER BUDVAR B:STRONG with the gravity of 16 % from them in the afternoon. This beer is going to enjoy an extraordinary long maturing period of more than half a year in the cellar, therefore it will appear on the Easter menu in selected restaurants all around the Czech Republic as well as several other countries in the second half of March 2017.
Brewing beer using fresh hops represents a kind of ‘sacred day’ for brewers, such a day was enjoyed in Budweiser Budvar on Monday 29th August. Any of the brewery’s technologists available could come to throw a bale of cones into the pan for brewing the two batches, which can be brewed only once a year. Fresh hops rank amongst the rarest brewing ingredients, as they must be processed instantly after their harvest, therefore on the same day they were picked. The fresh hop cones technologically differ from the pressed ones commonly used in Budvar to a substantial extent. “The bales with harvested hops thus had to be watched all the time, to prevent their spontaneous heating up due to the naturally high humidity before their addition to the batch. Compared to last year the weather was cooler, so leaving the bales open to air was sufficient. We did not have to turn them every 15 minutes to cool them down,” says Budweiser Budvar scientific researcher Petr Košin, Ph.D. Since Budvar brews using hop cones (dried) all year round, it has unique straining equipment in its brewing house to remove the malt residues from the hopped wort at the end of brewing. As one of the few Czech breweries it can thus use fresh hop cones to hop the whole batch, and not just as a small addition.
Supervised by Budweiser Budvar’s specialists, the cones of Saaz “poloraný červeňák - a total of 800 kg - were harvested in the morning of Monday 29th August It was already the third year of this limited edition. The hops were harvested on the “Splav” hop field, which belongs to the famous locality of “Golden Stream Valley” in the cadastre of the hop-growing municipality of Blšany. Numbering amongst the leading Czech hop sellers and traders, ARIX, joint-stock company supplied the hops. Compared to last year, this year's weather was very positive for hops, since it rained and the sun shone just at the right time as the hops needed it. As opposed to last year, the hops from this hop field contain about 30% more bitter substances.
"Since we have used the hops for our seasonal beer from the same hop field in the same amount for the fifth year, we can clearly see the differences in harvests caused by different weather conditions in the particular year. The beer brewed this year is expected to have a substantially higher bitterness than last year, when the hops were not so rich due to the droughts. We really look forward to the result,” concluded Petr Košin.
The seasonal beer from fresh hops will undergo a more than half a year long maturing period in the cellars of the brewery; it will then be drawn at selected restaurants and pubs across the country and in several other countries.