Hop Correspondent: Dean Monshing
Hops are as much a part of the Monshing family as they are of beer.
Enter Dean Monshing, Business Unit Manager at Simply Hops (our UK counterpart) and a fourth generation Monshing to grow up on our Rostrevor Hop Gardens.
Dean spent his childhood stringing vines, watching new cultivars come to life and helping out his parents, Allan and Gail, with harvest during school holidays. With this unique insight, Dean’s pretty apt at chatting about what HPA is up to down under. And who can resist the chance to talk to an Aussie about Australian hops.
Now, armed with qualifications in Management, Agriculture and Brewing, he has a rare understanding of the process from hop development to drink.
While ‘flavour hop’ is a relatively new term it’s one that’s been eagerly taken up by brewers. Dean believes the success is somewhat due to its novelty; “Every brewer will try anything once”, but the fact of the matter is that UK customers love the punchy hop derived flavours that only HPA can help create. Demand continues to grow – and with the hot UK summer blaring on, it’s not hard to imagine why.
Though Galaxy, Ella and Topaz are holding steady, Vic Secret is gaining a lot of traction this season. Brewers are taking craft beer into a whole new realm and are introducing aged brews to market, releasing beers with live yeast to create funky and experimental flavours. Dean notes, “There’s always someone who’s willing to take our hops and do something radical.” Whether it’s a Galaxy packed IPA or barrel aged Saison with Vic Secret, hop-flavoured beers are taking centre stage.
Matchmaking might be a little outside of Dean’s wheelhouse, but facilitating collaborations between Australian and European brewers has been a pretty rewarding of late. From an expat’s perspective, there was no better pair to push the boundaries of brewing than Ben Kraus of Bridge Road Brewers and Urbain Coutteau of De Struise Brouwers of Belgium. In August, Simply Hops put these two eccentrics together with several vacuum packs of Galaxy hops to see what’d happen and the results have been pretty incredible so far. “There’s an imperial pilsner which going to taste pretty amazing – but then there was no better match for Struise than Ben.”
While Australian hops contribute a small percentage of the UK and European markets, it’s a segment that’s rapidly growing. “As brewers discover the difference Australian hops can make to beer – they’re jumping at the chance to give it a go.”
Oh and – if anyone’s heading over to London, someone drop a case of Little Creatures Pale Ale on Dean’s doorstep – he’s in need…