Ace up our sleeve

Sorachi Ace has become known as one of those hops with quite a distinct favour. Though it has been produced since the late 80’s in Japan, it only really came to the western world’s attention in 2008 due to the global hop shortage.

How did we ever have a hop shortage you ask?

To understand you have to go back to 1992, when hop acreage in the U.S was actually at an all-time maximum at 236,067 acres. This lead to an excess of hops, leading to much of it being converted to hop extract so it could be easily stored. In the following years this excess was slowly bought, while farmers continued to grow their crops. These crops were then made into more extract and added to the storage pile, because of all this excess, hop prices were low and fewer contracts were being maintained due to its cheapness on the open market. After this drop in price, farmers begun changing their acreage to more profitable crops or selling their land.

In 2007 Europe’s crops were hit with unusual weather, leading to below average production and here in the UK, hop acreage actually fell to under 2,500 acres, leaving us with little impact on the global market. When 2008 finally arrived, all that hop excess in the U.S had been sold and the market was left with little to choose from. Hops that were once sold for a couple of pounds would then rocket to a near 100% increase and as a brewer buys according to the amount of alpha acids the crop provides, the price for a good hop were unreachable.

With sorachi ace’s high alpha content and low prices it was the perfect hop to help in the crisis. It’s name was taken the Sorachi Subprefecture in Hokkaid?, Japan. Developed for Sapporo Breweries for their premium large, it is a cross between Brewer’s Gold, Saaz and male Japanese variety. However, because of its intense lemony flavours it’s perfect for creating a light ale and with its complex flavours note from white flowers, tea, bubble gum, dill and coriander.

You can now try our very own sorachi ace drink, as part of the Northern Alliance series. Brewed with dark malt, you’ll taste a deep burnt chocolate and coffee favouring with the complex sorachi ace favouring mentioned above.