NOTES of pineapple, grapefruit and sherbet were drifting from the hop barn on a Herefordshire farm as a new hop to be brewed within hours of picking was brought in from the field.

Jester, grown at Mark and Lesley Andrews’ farm at Bosbury, has become highly sought after since it was first grown there five years ago.

It was chosen by Jimmy Swan and his wife, Gill Bullock, for the aromatic green hop beer, Green Swan, they were brewing the same morning at the Swan Brewery in Leominster.

Green hop beer seems to be the latest trend in the craft beer revolution, although it’s not a new brew, and is made with freshly picked hops, rather than kiln dried.

“It’s more the aroma of green hop beer that people like. It’s a one-off. People are having a one-off taste.

“You have heard of Beaujolais nouveau, this is beerjolais nouveau,” said Gill.

She added: “It’s exciting to have something that will be a one-off. For us it really fits with how we want to purchase our raw materials and how we want to work with local farmers.

“There are also a growing number of cask ale drinkers, with more young people and women drinking beer too. We need to be looking at offering something different.”

The Jester harvest began at Townend Farm at 7.30am on a bright, fresh morning in mid-September.

A team of Polish workers out in the field used a special harvester to pull the bines into a trailer, cutting down any stragglers by hand.

In the barn the almost tropical smelling hop flowers that were to become the first Green Swan beer were strung up and stripped by more machines.

Around 30kg of the hops were bagged for Gill who was standing by with her van ready to ship them back to the brewery on Leominster’s Rural Enterprise Park, before the special aromas could fade.

Mark said the successful Jester variety has been grown on the farm since 2012 when it joined the breeding programme of hop factor and merchant, Charles Faram, whose British base is near Malvern. The firm also has offices in the US and Canada, and will export some of the Andrews’ crop to the States.

The variety is amongst the 60 acres of hops Mark and Lesley grow.

“When Charles Faram has a hop they are excited about we tend to be the first ones who grow it. It’s a risk when you grow a new variety. You don’t know what the disease resistance will be like,” said Mark.

His fortnightly spraying programme is “crucial” and begins mid-April, lasting until the end of August, depending on when the hop is picked.

Even then he said farmers can suffer total crop loss.

As well as being one of the most difficult crops to grow, he said hops are notoriously hard to pick due to the speed they need to be harvested.

There’s a window of around 10 days in which to pick Jester before the crop becomes spoilt and Mark and Lesley will need a good four days for the harvest.

The couple have been at the farm for 13 years and also grow 70 acres of cider apples for Bulmers, Westons and Magners. Before them, Mark’s parents and grandparents had farmed there.

The Jester crop looks promising and Jimmy the brewer began preparing for the arrival of the hops hours before they would be added to the copper.

Jimmy, who has a biochemistry degree and a post graduate diploma in brewing and distilling has worked as a brewer for Hall and Woodhouse in Dorset and most recently for the Wye Valley Brewery.

A couple of years ago over dinner he suggested to Gill, who has a chemistry degree and a background in marketing, that they set up their own brewery and last year they produced their first brew.

Green Swan is the first green hop beer they have brewed.

While Gill collected the hops Jimmy began the beer making process.

Describing the scientific process he told how he first put barley in a mash tub for an hour for the enzymes to break down.

The sticky sweet liquid that runs off is wort and is put in the copper to boil. A dry bittering hop variety, Admiral, was added to the Green Swan brew and at the end of the boiling process, the aromatic Jester boiled for just 10 minutes before the wort was slowly cooled and piped to a fermention vessel with pure oxygen added.

Yeast was added to the fermenter where Jimmy said it would multiply 10-fold, eating the sugar and oxygen, before eventually rising to the top as a crust where it’s skimmed off and used in other brews.

The fermentation typically takes three to four days and there are already orders in place for what will be a popular beer.

“Jester is a relatively new variety. I have brewed with it before and I have had good results from it,” said Jimmy.

The hops were blessed by two Leominster clergy; Rural Dean, Mike Kneen and Leominster team vicar, Rev Matthew Burns, who called for a moment of quiet as silent thanks were also made to farmers and food producers.