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March 28, 2017 09:45

From Magnum to Amarillo: Profibeer has found a Russian brewery with its own hop farm

From Magnum to Amarillo: Profibeer has found a Russian brewery with its own hop farm

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By Russian realities Podsosnovsky brewery is almost a miracle: it is an industrial brewery working entirely on local raw materials. It takes water from the own well, malt barley in the own malt house and grows hops in the own hop farm, that is surprisingly for Russia.  We’ve found out why and how the brewery established the hop production.

AS IN THE BEST HOUSES OF ENGLAND AND THE USA

The new trend locavore, or "a-field-to-glass", has been developing for a long time in European and American brewing.  Consumers are waiting for beer from local ingredients, and breweries start their own hop farms and malt houses.  It is a part of the world movement: a modern man, satiated with a global mass product, is looking for quality in locality and handcraft.

In Russia this trend is not so developed yet.  Only big (or sometimes medium-sized) breweries operate their own malt houses.  But situation with hops cultivation, that require especially painstaking work and long time to pay for itself, was even more unfortunate:  Russian hop gardens have not recovered from the Gorbachev's "dry law" and have almost completely died by the 2000s.

Only in the last years the hop industry has slowly started to come to life thanks to hoppers and brewing enthusiasts. There were also the first breweries, which made beer completely from their own ingredients, "from-the-field-into-a-glass".  One of them is Podsosnovsky Brewery.

ALTAI CZECH REPUBLIC

Podsosnovsky Brewery was founded 1984 in the Altai Region.  For several years the work of the brewery had been stopped, and his second life began in the 2010s.  The brewery managed to take part in one of the largest thematic festivals in Russia - AltaiFest.

The team that restarted the brewery had considerable experience working with other breweries and often faced a problem of hop quality. Because of isolated location and a big number of intermediaries it often happens, that among the really good and authentic hops there is a counterfeit: low quality hops and blends of expensive hops with cheap ones.

The brewers knew that during the Soviet times Podsosnovsky Brewery worked with local, Altaic raw materials.  So, it was possible to try to restore local hop gardens and in this way not only solve quality problems, but also reduce the cost of raw materials.

The brewery team studied carefully the history of climatic observations of the Altai Region over the past 50 years and began to doubt the success.  By all indicators it looked like only low quality hop could be grown there.

Fortunately, in the foothills of Altai far from major cities and operating industrial enterprises there is an area with a special microclimate: with  warmer average temperature and milder winters, similar to the weather in the Czech Republic.  In the valley, on the slope of the mountains, the plants are hidden from the winds and the soil fertility and solar activity are high there.

The village of Verkh-Karaguzh is situated in this area.  A hop farm appeared there 1986. Like all post-Soviet hop industry it has gone through hard times.  On its basis Podsosnovsky Brewery launched 2011 its hop production.

RUSSIA, CZECH REPUBLIC AND GERMANY ON ONE ALLOTMENT

The brewery signed a contract with two specialists from the Zhatetsky Institute of Hop Growing (Chmelařský institut s.r.o.). They set to work and on their first visit they collected samples of Altai hops, including wild ones.

The institute managed to adapt such hops as Czech Kazbek, Premium, Sladek, German Magnum and English-German Northern Brewer to the local climatic conditions.  Such Russian hops as Podvyasny and Moscow's early  are also cultivated by Podsosnovsky brewery.

Czech experts personally took part in the planting of seedlings.  The plants proved to be stable and settled down.  The first planting began to bear fruit 2015.  By that time, the plant had purchased equipment for collecting, drying and pressing of the grown hop.

Now the hop farm completely provides the amount of hops necessary for the production of the Podsosnovsky Brewery.  This year new seedlings and cuttings will grow.  The hop farm is planning to sell raw materials to other breweries and to cultivate German hop varieties and popular hops from the USA.

Phone: 8 (3852) 555101

Wholesale Department: 8 (913) 271 84 38

Address: Russia, 658876, Altai Region, the German National District, Podsosnovo, ul. Khimzavodskaya, 14

E-mail: info@kors22.ru

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