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Fresh hops

Since the 12th century, hops are used in beer production.
Previously hop was known as a medicinal plant. First they used “gruut”, a mixture of gale and local plants and herbs. Hops made beer taste better and conserved it much longer, which was especially important at that time. One can say that hops were used in the 14th century throughout the European continent as a raw material in the brewery. In the British Isles it lasted until the beginning of the 16th century before they dared to brew with hops.

Hop does not grow everywhere. The climatic conditions and the soil are important but even more is the daily amount of natural light. Hence, the best areas for hop plantations are in the Czech Republic, around the city Zatec, and in German Bohemia. In Zatec grow the world famous Saazer hops. In the center of these hop cultures is the "Golden Creek".
Only those hops are given the name Saaz Saaz.

After harvesting, the hops go to a kiln where it is dried at 50°C to bring the water content of the hops down from 75% to 10%. Then the hops are squeezed in ballots or loosely packed in bales. These are called hop bells. These hop bells constitute only 7% of the total hops and is only used in breweries that rely on tradition and the advantages of the hop bells and that prefer hop bells rather than the ease of working with other packages. Usually that artisanal character is of paramount importance for these smaller breweries. Approximately 50% of the hop is sold as pellets. The packaged ballots are cut open; the crushed hop cones are finely mechanically ground in an extruder and processed to pellets. This occurs at a temperature of around 50 ° C. During this operation lots of the hop flavor and aroma quantity are lost. The pellets are packed under nitrogen in aluminum packaging. The other 43% of the hops is marketed as an extract. These extracts are packed in tin boxes. They contain only the bitter substances of hops mixed with sugar.

Fresh hops Czech Republic. Note the red color of the earth.

For brewing AmBassadeur only not dried hop bells are used.
By using the full cone, not only bitter substances are found in the beer but also all the essential oils which are responsible for smell and flavor, the polyphenols that give the full mouth feel of beer and also elements that prevent osteoporosis and can remedy problems of menopause.

How does that work in practice?
Early in the morning the hops are picked. These hops are not dried and driven straight to the brewery. These hops are intact and keep its humidity because it is not dried, virtually all the properties of the hop remain intact. This is called "green hop" and brewing with these hops is called "Green hopping". In the evening the hops are put to a large extent into the kettle to bitter the fluids. The other part is kept cold and added to the beer during the fermentation. It remains in the beer during the fermentation and the maturation until the moment that the beer is centrifuged and filled.
Since green and thus wet hops are used, up to 7.5 times more hops must be used than with the use of dried hops to obtain the same amount of bitterness.
The advantage is that everything of the hop bells is used, which is positive for the beer.
What is negative is that AmBassadeur can be brewed only once a year, immediately after the harvest. Studies are ongoing to preserve green hops at low temperatures and we hope to know the results for the next harvest.

Ambassador will differ every year in sensory taste, smell and flavor but that proves once again that this beer is a natural product. The beer contains no stabilizers nor preservatives and is not pasteurized.