Oakham Ales launched not just a new beer, but a new hop variety at the Cambridge Blue today. According to the press release, Oakham are ‘the only brewer worldwide to have access to the Baby Belma hop’ and were given enough hops for one brew only, so it was great to try it while it lasts. The hop variety, ‘Grown in the North West of the USA in the lower Yakima Valley’ was used to create a beer Oakham describe as:
4.1% A.B.V, light copper in colour with a subtle orange fruit aroma. The initial taste is a fresh fruit zestiness which softens to reveal some sweetness from the malt combining with orange peel flavours giving a delicate dry finish.
The Head Brewer tasted it at the bar before it was put on sale and he declared… “That’ll do”
I then had what I suppose was the first public serving of this beer. I really enjoyed it and the second pint was even nicer, always a good sign. There’s a subtle burst of citrus that’s more clementine than orange and quickly dissolves into a light malt flavour. The hops are less prominent overall than in many of Oakham’s beers and I think would be much more enjoyable over a session than say Citra.
It’s remarkable that an East Anglian brewer got exclusive use of a North West USA hop variety, and that they chose to debut it here in Cambridge at the Blue. That’ll do.