The merits of insufficient planning

Books are unbelievably great.

Today, I have learned that the majority of hops used in the Belgian brewing industry are produced in the UK, because Belgian hop production is very limited, and because the varieties produced in the UK are much better suited to matured beers than hops produced in central europe, because the latter produce undesirable flavours after a period of time.

This is two-times pleasing.

It’s pleasing first-off because as the author points out, hops were first introduced to the UK by Flemish weavers in the Middle Ages. Nice to give something back, I thought.

It’s secondly, and more profoundly pleasing personally, because of serendipity.

Since several experiments ago I had settled upon the exceptionally noble Hallertauer Mittelfrüh hop as the preferred, for several reasons that I won’t bore you with. However, I have noticed that it doesn’t seem to age well.

I had planned to brew two beers, today and tomorrow, the first since brewing an experiment with Rye last July. However, I had forgotten to check whether there were sufficient hops; unfortunately, there remained only enough for one, not both. That’s not much use when conducting a back-to-back experiment.

Digging in the ingredients box I find a couple of unopened, vacuum sealed packs of Fuggles, the classic English hop that is unbeatable for dark beers. A rye beer is on the agenda, not dark, but I want to brew today, can’t be bothered to wait for an order to arrive. Let’s see what happens.

The day progresses, things are going okay, I sit down to start reading said book, for reasons that I might yet get around to writing about. The passage relating to the keeping qualities of classic UK hops occurs fairly early on. I smile, a warm excitement spreading in anticipation of witnessing the results of a happy accident …