Wednesday, 27 August 2014

East Kent hop harvest update

I spoke to Humphrey earlier this morning (pick a sunny morning, and call early, and you're in with a chance of a friendly conversation).
'They look pretty enough'

'Changing every day'
'One bine spindly, one heavy'
'Never seen anything like it'
'We'll start on the 4th, or the 5th'

More as and when.

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Kent Green Hop Brewers 2014

View Kent Green Hop Brewers in a larger map

Let me know if I've missed anyone?

Monday, 9 June 2014

East Kent Hop Update

These are our East Kent Goldings. They're not as tall as some of the other varieties just at the moment.

Thursday, 22 May 2014

The Isle of Thanet

Londoners have been escaping to the Isle of Thanet for more that 200 years … for the laidback seaside vibe … breathtaking sandy beaches … fresh sea air … and romantic Turner skies …

Here at the very edge of the Garden of England, three Georgian and Victorian resorts, each with its own distinctive character – Margate, Broadstairs and Ramsgate – cluster around the bays at the far end of the peninsula.

There’s a retro feel to these harbour towns, with their remarkable 18th and 19th century architecture, their classic seaside heritage and kitsch, their eclectic attractions and live arts and music venues. And there is a variety of independent places to shop, eat, drink and stay.

Miles of low chalk cliffs edge the peninsula, sheltering a string of secluded, unspoilt sandy bays. Chalk rockpools, chalk stacks and rare chalk reefs teem with wildlife. These are the closest surfing beaches to the capital city: a popular choice with southeast boarders.

Artists, writers and musicians have long been inspired by this almost-island … and continue to be drawn here. Turner said Thanet had “the loveliest skies in all Europe” … for Dickens, Broadstairs was “the freshest, freest place” … and Tracey Emin declares in pink neon on Margate seafront: “I never stopped loving you”.

The Isle’s a historic landing place steeped in symbolism for the story of Britain …the first Saxons, Hengist and Horsa, arrived and settled here … and St Augustine first stepped onto these shores on his way to nearby Canterbury.

For this is the furthest south east you can go in Britain … almost touching mainland Europe … yet these days only 75 minutes from central London …

And now with the Turner Contemporary gallery and high-speed trains from the capital … a new generation is discovering this original seaside escape.

(I didn't write this, but I wish I did).

Tuesday, 6 May 2014


A good friend of mine has a notion he's rather partial of, and he isn't afraid to verbalise it. It's about pubs and, unlike most of us who moan about what isn't right with them, he not only suggests a way to improve them, he proves his ideas work. And they've caught on around these parts, big time. I'll attempt to summarise his basic notion......

Pubs, as they've commonly been operated for the last couple or three decades, 'sell', say, 7 different things:

1. Cask ale.
2. Lager.
3. Spirits and wine.
4. Food.
5. Pool.
6. Live football.
7. Music.

What happens if you disregard the last 6 and sell only cask ale? Well, since you need no kitchen, and you can sell the pool table, you need a lot less space. And since you'll only attract cask ale drinkers you'll need less space again. Less space = lower rent, and lower rent = a lower break even turnover. Get the necessary turnover low enough and you don't need any staff either, you can cover all the necessary hours on your own.

So you end up with a small, one man business that sells only cask ale to cask ale drinkers. Overheads are very low, turnover below the vat threshold, staff costs zero and opening hours limited to those that suit the owner. That's all well and good but what's in it for the customer? Cask ale and conversation (hopefully both fresh). So what has the average cask ale drinker lost? Music, the smell of deep fried food and the threat of a pool cue round the head from a lagered up ne're-do-well - not a lot really, or so the notion goes.

What do you think? Could it possibly work?

More, another time perhaps.

Friday, 2 May 2014

Mayor makes beer.

The Mayor of Margate 'mashed' the 'Time Ball Special' brew in yesterday. Well, he posed for a photograph holding the brewhouse stick above the mash. Corporate snapper Sue Fisher commented "well, I tried to get him to smile but....".

Speedy Mark smiles whilst the Mayor does all the work.

The 3.9% bitter was brewed to help celebrate the re-balling of Margate's Time Ball that sits atop the Clock Tower on the seafront. The ball is dropped at precisely 1pm, helping all the watchless sailors in the harbour tell the time. First drop is on May 24th, at, funnily enough, 1pm.

Thursday, 1 May 2014

++++ early east Kent harvest news +++++

Pears - there was real concern at a lack of bloom but it's looking good now.
Apples - very promising, though too much bloom is as bad as too little.
Cherries - could be good, could be very, very good.

It's the latter that interests me - a bumper crop gives me the opportunity to nick in early and grab a half tonne of lower grade fruit, pop it in some oak casks with a mild wheat beer and seal it up to mature for 6 or 8 months. This time next year we could be cracking bottles of deliciously sparkling Kentish Kriek.

That's the sunny outlook, of course the crop could be devastated by storms overnight and we get nothing. Such is a life living off the land.