St Andrews Brewing Company, a locally-owned Scottish brewery producing craft beer in Fife, has partnered with the James Hutton Institute to develop Harvest Beer, a wholly Scottish beer featuring hops grown at the Institute’s Mylnefield Farm near Dundee.
The beer, a 4.5 per cent fresh hop pale ale, includes Pioneer, Cascade and First Gold hops grown by the institute as part of an experiment which looks into the commercial viability of cultivating hops in Scotland.
Simon Tardivel, St Andrews Brewing Company, said: “It is exceptionally difficult to grow hops in Scotland’s climate, however the James Hutton Institute have produced a fresh crop of Scottish hops.
“Grown in specially cultivated conditions at their farm near Dundee, these hops have allowed us to create a fresh wet hopped beer made with purely Scottish ingredients. This beer is not only exciting news for us, but for the sustainability of Scottish craft beer as a whole.”
According to Dr Rex Brennan, leader of the soft fruit breeding group at the James Hutton Institute, hops are vigorous, climbing perennial plants that usually grow in warm temperate regions, and although they have been grown as far north as Aberdeen they remain a rare crop in Scotland.
“From an idea by Professor Robbie Waugh from our cell and molecular sciences group, we decided to try to create a particular environment to investigate the feasibility of growing hops including the development of special polytunnel infrastructure by our farms, field and glasshouses team.
“This has led to a successful experiment for the second year running, and we are now actively considering further work to look into different aspects of hops, such as increased quality and yield, and options for mechanical harvesting.”
Harvest Beer is available from St Andrews Brewery brewpub, 177 South Street, St Andrews, and other stockists across Scotland.