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Brew Gluten Free Beer with Fresh Hops

Can you brew a gluten free beer with fresh hops?

Harvesting Hops: fresh hop IPA gluten free beer 

A fresh (wet) hop beer. Something gluten free beer drinkers would barely dare to dream of. Does it taste as good as it sounds? 

Yes, is the short answer – better in truth. 

It is the holy grail for which the TWØBAYS Brewing Co team descended upon Victoria’s High Country – specifically Rostrevor Hop Gardens in the foothills of Mount Buffalo – this March. 

Where can I try a fresh hop gluten free beer?

Get in quick; we only had enough fresh hops to brew a small batch – call ahead to find out when the beer will go on tap.

  • Adelaide: Duke of Brunswick
  • Brisbane: Brewski
  • Launceston: Saint John Craft Beer Bar
  • Melbourne: The Fox Hotel Collingwood
  • Mornington Peninsula: TWØBAYS Taproom
  • Sydney: Hopsters 

What does a fresh hop gluten free beer taste like?

Our Hop Harvest IPA (5.7% abv) is wet hopped with fresh Galaxy hops; bursting with notes of berry and passionfruit, followed by a soft and mild bitter finish. Aromatic and tasting fresh; it's beautiful! 

Which hops go in the rest of the TWØBAYS beers?

Most beers across the world – including most of ours – are brewed with hop pellets; whole cone hops that have undergone a pelletisation process where whole hops are stripped from the bines during harvest, processed, and then pushed through special compression tubes that force the hop matter into firm pellets. 

We have used a huge variety of hops, including Citra, Galaxy, Mosaic, Nectaron, Eclipse, Topaz, Vic Secret, Cascade, Amarillo, Centennial, East Kent Goldings, Ekuanot, Kohatu, Motueka, Nelson Sauvin, Simcoe, Strata and more.

Are hops gluten free?

All hops are naturally gluten free. They are the flowers, or cones, of a plant called Humulus lupulus, used primarily as a bittering, flavouring, and stability agents, to which, in addition to bitterness, they impart floral, fruity, or citrus aromas and flavours.

When is Hop Harvest Season?

Hop harvest season is short and incredibly busy for the owners of Rostrevor, Hop Products Australia (HPA). They are Australia’s largest hop grower, responsible for 90% of Australia’s hops – farming 900 hectares capable of producing more than 2,400 metric tonnes of hops by 2024 – approximately 1% of the hops grown around the world. 

What makes the Victorian High Country so good for growing hops?

The summer days are long, the soil is rich, and the water is abundant, and although HPA grew mostly bittering hops for 130 years, they now breed, grow and harvest hops for flavour, aroma and diversity thanks to Australia’s recent penchant for pushing the boundaries of beer exploration. 

Interstate brand ambassadors flew in for the occasion to head to the Ovens River Valley on the Great Alpine Road with over-enthusiastic brewers, mind-blown marketeers, office staff and the owners of TWØBAYS, Richard and Sarah Jeffares. 

And after a tour of the 310-hectare Gardens, capable of producing more than 650 metric tonnes of hops a year (really in a four-week harvest period) – a quick visit to Bright Brewery, Beechworth Brewery and Billson’s Brewery and Distillery – we brought home the hops; five kilograms of fresh Galaxy hops. 

Kristian and Richard with Fresh Galaxy hops for our wet hop IPA

“I’ve never tried a fresh-hopped beer before and we haven’t done many in Australia,” said Richard. 

“Your senses are on overload in the Hop Gardens – we just wish we had smellovision for everybody to get a whiff of the different aromas. There’s everything from the smell of passion fruit, lychee, and citrus from all the different varietals, but you can also pick up aromas that you don’t want in a beer. HPA do an amazing job to make sure the right aromas are in the hops available to the beer world. 

“A huge thanks to Phil and HPA for the tour – it’s a huge production and the experience was so informative for our sales team and marketing team and our brewers to come here and get a real experience. For me, hops are such an important part of our beer and it’s fascinating how long it takes to get a variety to market. HPA are great suppliers; we use them a lot across our different beers and we hope to do that for many years to come.” 

Thank you to HPA, Bright Brewery, Beechworth Brewery and Billson’s Brewery and Distillery – and William Panlook, the son of a Chinese immigrant who came to Australia during the Gold Rush in search of a fortune but didn’t find it until his family planted hops in the 1890s.  

Thanks also to HPA Vic Sales Rep Phil Rutjens and HPA Farm Manager Allan Monshing – whose grandfather was William Panlook’s blacksmith. 

The farmhouse William lived in with his family still stands today as the Gardens office.

Cheers to that!  

 Fresh Galaxy hops in our wet hop IPA

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