This year, a number of merchants were invited to participate in the judging, who not only brought their expertise and knowledge to the team but are able to communicate the quality and variety available from British hops to customers worldwide.
The selection of winning samples is based upon a number of criteria including
- Trueness to variety type
- Quality and intensity of aroma
- Disease and pest free
- Presentation of sample
Samples are always presented blind and categories are judged from low to high intensity aroma. All of the samples are inspected by all of the judges who voted for their top three independently. If a consensus had not been reached after the first round of voting, low scoring samples were removed and subsequent rounds were conducted until the top three remained.
Overall comments were that the samples showed a very high standard with good pick quality. Samples were clean and well-presented and with no evidence of any disease and pests. The judges were very pleased to see the appearance of more new varieties and commented on the excellent range of intensity of aroma from these.
Judges for the 2018 competition
- Derek Prentice
- Jack Teagle
- Daniel Gooderham
- Paul Corbett
- Stuart Murray
- Jason Little
The Le May Cup - Awarded for the best sample of Goldings and eligible clones.
A very impressive category across the board. The judges were pleased with the universally high quality of presentation, especially considering the long dry summer. Samples from JE & JH Clinch took second and third places.
Anna Clinch from J E & J H Clinch (East Kent Goldings).
The Hop Merchants Cup
Awarded for best sample of British hops bough on the basis of their flavour character, regardless of Alpha Acid content.
The great number of entries across the three categories of this class always represent a sensory challenge to the judges and this year was no different. The range in aroma was outstanding and the presentation and pick quality drew many appreciable comments from the judges.
Category B was taken by J E & J H Clinch with a beautiful lemon zesty and floral example of Challenger. Category C was won by Clive and Richard Edmed with a bright, clean and fresh sample of First Gold.
Category A - High Aroma Intensity
2nd - Redsell Teynham Partnership (Bulion)
3rd - H J Davies & Sons (Bramling Cross)
Thomas Johnson from Redsell Teynham Partnership (Bulion).
Category B - Strong Aroma Intensity
1st - J E & J H Clinch (Challenger)
2nd - Little Pell Farm (WGV)
3rd - L E Humphreys & Sons (WGV)
Robert Humphreys from L E Humphreys & Sons (WGV).
Category C - Delicate Aroma Intensity
1st - Clive & Richard Edmed (First G)
2nd - Little Pell Farm (Pilgrim)
3rd - Coombe-Jones (Goudhurst) (Progress)
Richard Edmed from Clive & Richard Edmed (First G).
Andy Coombe-Jones from Coombe-Jones (Goudhurst) (Progress).
The Brewers Cup
Awarded for the best sample of British Hops that are bought primarily for their high Alpha Acid content.
The high alpha category this year displayed many fine examples of resinous, oil rich tight bright cones. Overall, the judges had difficulty in picking out their top three examples as they were all ‘shouting out loud’. However, the sample of Admiral from L Wheeler & Sons (Udimore) won through with what was described as a ‘high pungent fruit cocktail’ of zesty lemon and orange that was both sharp and intense.
1st - L Wheeler & Sons (Udimore) (Admiral)
2nd - L Wheeler & Sons (EP) (Admiral)
Chris Wheeler accepting the winning trophy on behalf of Robert Wheeler from L Wheeler & Sons (Udimore) for Admiral.
The Wigan Cup
Awarded for the best sample of Fuggle.
The judges commented on the consistency of this year’s Fuggles samples and the difficulty they had in separating them. All samples were presented to a high standard and credit must be given to the growers for such a fine selection of samples this year.
The Botanix Cup
Awarded for the best sample of Dwarf/Hedgerow variety.
This class demonstrated the impressive range of aromas possible from the dwarf/hedgerow varieties of British Hops. Once again, the quality of the samples was up on last year, with a much greater consistency amongst them. The variety and range were encouraging, with a pleasing spread of aroma types and intensities. The class winner was L E Humphreys & Sons sample of Endeavour which displayed floral and stone fruit characteristics of a very fine quality.
1st - L E Humphreys & Sons (Endeavour)
2nd - L E Humphrey (Pioneer)
3rd - Charles Pudge (First G)
Robert Humphreys from L H Humphreys & Sons (Endeavour).
Charles Pudge (First G).
The Grower's Challenge Bowl
Awarded for the best sample of new English variety.
This class is designed to showcase the exciting range of new hops that are graduating from the various breeding and development programmes. The powerful aromas on this table were apparent even before the rubbing began and many of the samples displayed intense citrus and tropical characteristics not usually associated with British Hops. The samples all presented an oil rich and highly resinous rub with great a great range of distinct and powerful aroma.