Autumn is an exciting time of year for winemakers, it's when vintage takes place. When the grapes ripen, they are picked and turned into wine. So much potential greatness, so much work to be done and so much potential for disaster. The whole year's work comes together.
But it isn't only winemakers that get excited, brewers get their one chance a year to brew using freshly harvested hops.
Hops are flowers from a vine and are harvested once a year. Then typically kiln dried to about 8%-10% moisture to preserve their flavours and aromas. They are then processed into pellets for use all year round.
Fresh hops have around 80% moisture and once picked will degrade very quickly. When they are fresh they are extremely aromatic, room filling aromas smack you in the face. Fresh hops are sticky and impart more grassy, spicy and herbal versions of their characters.
The first fresh hop beers have begun arriving in store with more to come in the weeks ahead.
This Saturday Beechworth is hosting its annual fresh hop festival, The High Country Hop. You can expect to see a dizzying array of fresh hop beers, brewed to be released at the festival. The lineup looks amazing with locals such as Bridge Road, Bright, King River and Mitta Mitta joined by the likes of Garage Project, Mountain Culture and Sailor's Grave.
Of course there will be distillers, wineries, great food and live bands. If you don't have plans for Saturday, or even if you do, buy a ticket and head on out to Beechworth.