Last chance to drink Kent Green Hop Beer?!

If you’re downhearted about not being able to drink Kent Green Hop Beer for a whole year I have good news for you. Although officially only a Fortnight, which finished last week, the unofficial ‘season finale’ happens in the west of the county next weekend. West Kent CAMRA (Campaign for Real Ale) in association with the Spa Valley Railway (SVR) in Tunbridge Wells hold their annual beer festival from Fri 21st to Sunday 23rd October and it will feature a dedicated bar serving some 25 green hop beers.

We always enjoy a pint with Simon Scott of West Kent CAMRA at Canterbury Food & Drink Festival and this year we strong-armed him into writing a piece for us about the delights of the beer festival that offers drinkers one of their last annual chances to drink Kent Green Hop Beer. Here’s what he had to say.

We held our first beer festival in association with SVR in 2013, which was the year after the first Kent Green Hop Beer Fortnight. We stocked just over 30 real ales but we decided to embrace green hop beers and served a dozen during the October festival weekend. They proved extremely popular, and as the number of KGHBs brewed has steadily increased each year, this time we’ll have about 25.

During festival planning, we quickly realised such a showcase of KGHBs deserved its own prominent place to stand out from the dozens of other beers (the whole festival has grown over the years so the beer list is now at 100+) and ciders. The KGHB bar is located near where festival-goers pick up their beer glasses, and we usually decorate it with hop bines from local producers. Last year the SVR staff even illuminated the barrels with green lights!

KGHBs really seem to capture the imagination of drinkers. People comment on the interesting aromas, tastes and even mouthfeel and love the fresh, local produce idea. Some folks even travel quite long distances to sample these unique ales. Last year I met people from Cardiff and Derby who had specifically come for the Kent Green Hop Beer!

Inside the Engine Shed, which is the main site for the beer festival

Inside the Engine Shed, which is the main site for the beer festival

In 2014 the public vote for Beer of the Festival went to Larkins Brewery Green Hop Best and it made us think KGHB deserved a separate competition to highlight the style. So this year KGHBs will be judged by a special panel in a blind tasting on the eve of the festival.

If all this beer talk has tempted you to come along to our festival, let me tell you a little more about the event. Firstly, the venue. Originally Tunbridge Wells had two railway stations, Central and West. Services from the latter ceased in 1985 and the station building is now a restaurant. But enthusiasts saved the Engine Shed and this is the main festival site. If you’re arriving by train at Tunbridge Wells (Central) you can catch a bus to the festival (get off at Sainsbury’s/Tunbridge Wells West station and exit through the car park). If you want to walk, it’s a pleasant 15 minute downhill stroll. This will also take you through the old shopping area, including the famous Pantiles which is home to the Chalybeate Spring – the spa from which the railway takes its name. A couple of minutes beyond the Pantiles (follow the roadsigns) brings you to the impressive old West Station and nearby Engine Shed, home to Spa Valley Railway. Look out for the distinctive green SVR livery on the building – which is somewhat reminiscent of the Kent Green Hop Beer logo!

Once you’re through the iron railing gates, you’ll be confronted by gleaming trains at the buffers directly outside the ticket office. Entrance to the main beer festival is free. Passing the ticket kiosk you enter the cavernous Engine Shed, and beyond the railway memorabilia you will spy CAMRA volunteers ready to furnish you with a beer glass, tokens and Beer Tasting Notes leaflet. Glasses are available in either third, half or pint sizes. There’s a £3 deposit (or groombridge-beercan be kept as souvenirs – this year’s glasses even feature the KGHB logo so they’re a must for collectors!). Tokens take the form of coloured plastic discs, representing various coin denominations – which helps speed things up at the bar. With glass, tokens and all-important Tasting Notes leaflet in hand you’re ready to quench your thirst. The section of the bar next to the glass stall is where you’ll find most KGHBs. All the green hop beer leaflet information is printed in green – so it’s easy to spot.

As well as the highlight that is Kent Green Hop Beer, we serve different beers (and ciders) at each of the two railway stations along the SVR line (Groombridge and Eridge, on the national rail network). There are also different beers available on various trains. The station location of each beer/cider is indicated in the Tasting Notes. Part of the fun of the weekend is to travel up and down this restored railway line on heritage trains (steam and diesel), but for that you need to buy a ticket. Tickets for trains after 6pm are discounted if you fancy a bargain. There’s also hot food and snacks at the stations, live music in the Engine Shed and roving morris dancers. What more could anyone want?

Get thee to a brewery & KGHB fans speak out

Get thee to a brewery

One of the best ways of learning more about beer is to visit a brewery and talk to the people who make it. As part of Kent Green Hop Beer Fortnight brewers in the east of the county are offering people to the chance to do just that. This Saturday, 8th Oct, is East Kent Open Day. Breweries are open from about midday until 9pm, depending on the brewery, and entry is free. Expect tours, music, food and, of course, Kent Green Hop Beers.

You can book a bus tour to visit them all or just pop along to your local/favourite brewery. This is just about your last chance to book bus tickets (subject to availability) ahead of the tour on Saturday.

The breweries taking part are:

Gadds’ Brewery, Ramsgate:  

7 Hornet Close, Pyson’s Road Ind Est, Broadstairs, CT10 2YD

The Foundry Brewpub, Canterbury:

White Horse Ln, Canterbury CT1 2RU

Canterbury Ales, Canterbury:

Unit 7, Stour Valley Business Park, Ashford Road, Canterbury, CT4 7HF

Wantsum Brewery:

Sparrows Way, Hersden, Canterbury, CT3 4AL

Goody Ales, Herne:

Bleangate Brewery, Braggs Lane, Herne, Kent, CT6 7NP.

 Poster 2016

KGHB fans speak out

If you follow us on Twitter you might have spotted that we keep going on about how much everyone loves Kent Green Hop Beer. To prove it’s true three #KGHB fans share their thoughts on the ultimate seasonal beer.

Mark Doig, Part time writer, Bexley.

“Kent brewers produce some fantastic green hopped beers. The first I ever had came from Gadds’ Ramsgate brewery. Been there, done that, got the t-shirt is true in my case. I’m no scientist, so I don’t know why, but there’s a fresh bitter zing to the beers brewed with green hops from the Garden of England. Now, lots of Kent breweries experiment with these fantastic fresh beers and I cannot wait for each year’s new offerings. Whilst Thanet is England’s capital of Micropubs, I’m lucky to live in the borough of Bexley and can hunt out some of these beers in many specialist ale houses and a brewery.” 

You can follow Mark on Twitter @MarkDoigFC

Paul Bailey, Beer aficionado and blogger, Tonbridge

paul-bailey-beer-blogger“Bright sunshine, unseasonably warm temperatures and the lovely setting of Canterbury’s historic Dane John Gardens, are the perfect backdrop for enjoying some of the finest beers Kent’s 40-odd breweries can produce and a great way to unwind after a busy week. As a beer lover, and a Kentish one at that, for me the Festival is the perfect occasion to sample these wonderful beers – which are full of resinous flavours from the use of freshly harvested hops, rather than the usual dried variety.”

Read Paul’s blog here.

Lisa Wadlow, Beer sommelier, Petts Wood

lisa-wadlow“The idea of holding Kent Green Hop Fortnight every year is a fantastic one. Lots of local breweries coming together to make it a success shows how healthy the Kent brewing industry is and as the county is known for growing hops I love the fact the Fortnight takes place here. We are of course always in the hands of Mother Nature, as the hop harvest can be affected by the weather. But it’s the contrast between the hops, not just from one variety to another but also from year to year, that make Green Hop beers a unique experience.The freshness of the hops shines through and as a beer fanatic it’s a real treat to try beers that are genuinely unique and only available for a limited time.”

Follow Lisa on Twitter @TheHopFlower and read her blog here

Although the Fortnight officially draws to a close this weekend, the unofficial season finale is the Spa Valley Railway/West Kent CAMRA beer festival in late October. We’ll preview the event in a special post next week.

3,000 pints of Kent Green Hop Beer

As you might have guessed visitors to our tent at Canterbury Food & Drink Festival last weekend got through about 3,000 pints of #KGHB. You surely love Kent Green Hop Beer!

Also at the Festival we held our first beer competition, judged – in a blind tasting so they didn’t know which beer was which – by a dedicated team headed by Gill Keay of the Canterbury, Herne Bay and Whitstable branch of CAMRA.

Beer judging is serious business

Beer judging is serious business

The competition was kindly sponsored by Muntons, with the winner not only receiving the Green Hop Cup but a marvellous pallet of malt for their efforts.

paul-kent-brewery-kghb-cup-winnerAnd the winner is… Kent Brewery Green Giant, a 6% IPA packed with East Kent Goldings. Always a favourite with drinkers it clearly wowed the judges too.

Kent Green Hop Beer Fortnight now continues at the county’s pubs and clubs. Micropubs especially seem keen to support the Fortnight and we especially thank those who mention @KentGreenHop when they tweet what beers they have on as this enables us to RT and keep you posted of what’s on and where.

If you are a licensee who’s serving Kent Green Hop Beer email me a pic of you and one of your pub and we will try and hail you as a #KGHB supporter. This is in lieu of not being able to update our ‘where to drink’ section this year.

One Inn the Wood, Orpington is particularly hot on tweeting its Kent Green Hop delights, The Long Pond, Eltham also tweets us now and again and we know The London Tavern, Margate was especially excited about stocking #KGHB this year. (Apologies to anyone I’ve forgotten).

Let us know and we’ll do our best to let everyone else know.

Coming soon… a preview of West Kent CAMRA‘s beer festival in October featuring lots of Kent Green Hop Beer.

The Kent Green Hop Beers at Canterbury F & D Fest

Our tent at Canterbury marks the official start of Kent Green Hop Beer Fortnight, but I have the feeling that for some it is the Fortnight. There’s always such a good atmosphere and plenty of familiar faces year-after-year.

kghb-tent-2016-cropped

This year it seems you loved the beer more than ever. You got through 800 pints on the Friday! Gadds’ Green Hop Ale (4.8%) is always the first cask to sell out – which is why we always have several casks of it – but the next to go this year was Old Dairy Fuggles (4%). Everyone seemed to agree it was delicious. You’ll have to seek this one out in pubs across the county now, or one of the brewery’s KGHB events, as we only had one cask of it for Canterbury. I’ll whet your appetite by telling you it’s a light, delicate and very drinkable brew with honey and lemon hop flavours against the restrained sweetness of a malt backdrop reminiscent of brown sugar. Absolutely worth hunting for.

We have many other delicious brews at Canterbury Food & Drink Festival this Saturday (24th Sept). Here’s a flavour of what’s on offer.2016-kghb-casks-canterbury

*Bexley Brewery Berry EKG pale ale (4.1%) has an enticing perfumed, floral aroma threaded with lemony notes leading you in to a zesty beer with honey notes. One that really evokes the summer sunshine.

East Kent Green Hop Collaboration (5%) This collaboration between Gadds’, Canterbury Brewers/The Foundry, Canterbury Ales, Wantsum and Goody Ales tastes stunning. It’s super zingy, light and lemony. A juicy sherbet lemon of a beer! It’s hopped mostly with EKG along with a smidgen of Bullion – which here exhibits stone fruit notes rather than the blackcurrant it can offer up. Because it’s a green hop the flavour is delicate but the taste will please fans of American craft beers (but won’t put off traditional/British ale fans).

Wantsum Brewery Bullion (4.5%) poured much darker than I was expecting and has a pronounced spicy blackcurrant aroma and flavour with hints of chocolate. I bet it would taste great with a nice bit of venison!

Boutilliers Green Hop Saison (4.2%) Joining KGHBF for the first time Boutilliers have made a rather traditional saison. The aroma is of saison yeast with a hint of lemons. It’s a dry, snappy beer with more lemony notes emerging as you drink. I think it would be a good one to have with salmon or a dish like lemon chicken.

Pig & Porter Strangely Brown (4.8%) is much the same dark but light delight as it was last year. The green hops lift the malts so you get all of the flavour and body in a exceedingly drinkable beer. Expect lots of chocolatey flavours with a hint of lime.

We’re back at Canterbury today. The Food & Drink Festival is in Dane John Gardens. It’s free to get in. Opening times, 10am – 6pm. Find us at the foot of the mound – more directions here.

See you later for a beer! (See below for a couple of corrections to the beer list).

Beer list corrections – for Canterbury F&D

Bexley Brewery  *Instead of those listed we have – Berry EKG pale ale 4.1% (see tasting note above).

kghb-beer-board-cby-2016Pig & Porter Instead of Purest Green we have Green Spider Rye.

Wantsum In addition to what’s listed we have their Bullion.

Kent Green Hop Beer posters for pubs

Two posts in one day… please bear with us!

If you run a pub or bar and are stocking Kent Green Hop Beers you may find these useful. Feel free to print off and use to show your support for, and involvement in, Kent Green Hop Beer Fortnight 2016.

There are four different versions of the same poster – links to download below.

kghb-16-poster-pic

kghb-poster-2016-landscape

kghb-poster-2016-portrait

kghb-16-generic

kghb-16-generic-2

Kent Green Hop Beer list for Canterbury F&D fest

Here’s the beer list for our #KGHB Tent at Canterbury Food & Drink Festival from tomorrow Fri 23 Sept until Sunday 25th Sept – while stocks last! We do our best to make sure the details are correct, but please be aware they are subject to change.

Printer friendly version via this link: green-hop-beer-list-canterbury-2016. Weather forecast for the weekend is warm and sunny on Friday, overcast but warm on Saturday and Sunday. More weather details here.

Don’t forget the festival is a daytime only event. More details on the Canterbury F&D page.

We look forward to seeing you there!

2014 KGHB bar pix 1

Bexley Brewery

Hukins Challenger Pale Ale (4%) Pale ale hopped with Challenger.

Boutilliers

Green Hop Saison (5.5%) Pale, dry, thirst-quenching farmhouse style ale. Hopped with EKG*.

Canterbury Ales

Pale Ale (4.2%) Hopped with ‘Early Bird’ Goldings.

Green and Black (4%) Black, unfined beer with green hops.

Pale Ale (5%) Details tbc.

Canterbury Brewers/The Foundry Brewpub

Simply Saison (4.5%) Robust flavours celebrating the best of the summer. Hopped with EKG.

East Kent Red Rye (4.4%) Caramel-biscuit malts with herbal, marmalade notes. Hopped with EKG.

Harvest Night (5.6%) Black IPA. Hopped with EKG.

Caveman Brewery

70 Shilling (4%) Hopped with EKG.

Barnfield Wheat IPA (5%) Hopped with Challenger.

Christchurch University (collab with The Foundry)

Green Chapel Canterbury Christchurch Ale (4.6%) Pale ale with a riot of flavours. Hopped with EKG, Wye Challenger and Fuggles.

East Kent Brewers Collaboration beer

Details will be revealed at Canterbury F&D!

Gadds’ Ramsgate Brewery

Gadds’ Green Hop Ale (4.8%) Pale, crisp, zesty and bitter. Hopped with EKG.

Goachers

Goachers Green Hop Ale (3.9%) Pale ale. Hopped with EKG.

Goody Ales

Genesis Green Hop (3.5%) Ruby coloured brew. Hopped with Challenger grown at the brewery.

Good Harvest (3.8%) Clean tasting amber ale. Hopped with Northdown grown at the brewery.

Kent Brewery

Green Giant (6%) IPA hopped with a colossal amount of EKG.

Larkins Brewery

Green Hop Best (4%) Made with hops grown on their own farm at the brewery.

Mad Cat

Buzz Wiser (3.8%) Pale ale featuring honey. Hopped with EKG.

Syndale Pale Ale (4.3%) Pale ale with satisfying mouthfeel. Hopped with EKG.

Musket Brewery

Flash In The Pan (4%) Golden ale with a pleasantly dry, lingering aftertaste. Hopped with Fuggles.

Old Dairy

Green Hop with Fuggles (4%) Mild and pleasant pale ale with spicy, woody and fruit notes.

Green Hop with Challenger (4%) Spicy, cedary pale ale with green tea aroma and sweet floral flavour.

Green Hop with Bullion (4%) Strong and zesty pale ale with blackcurrant characteristics.

Pig and Porter

Purest Green (5.2%) Flavoursome pale ale with a hint of zesty marmalade. Hopped with EKG.

Strangely Brown (4.8%) ‘Grassy’ green hops lift the creaminess provided by roasted grains giving this porter a smooth mouthfeel and hints of coffee flavour.

Ripple Steam

Farmhouse Pale Ale (4.2%) Pale ale. Hopped with Admiral.

Shepherd Neame

Green Hop Ale (4.5%) Best bitter. Hopped with varieties selected by the brewer.

Tonbridge Brewery

Capel Pale (4.5%) Light honey malts with zesty, citrus notes. Hopped with Pilgrim.

Scuppeteer Brewing Company

Kiln Basher (5.2%) Green hop porter.

Wantsum Brewery

Fuggles (4.5%) Amber best bitter with hints of
citrus from the lightly perfumed Fuggles.

Westerham Brewery

Scotney Green Hop Harvest Ale (4.5%) Mid gold bitter with a delightful sweet, sappy flavour. Hopped with Goldings from Scotney Castle Hop Garden.

Whitstable Brewery

Green Glory (4.8%) Hopped with Challenger.

Good as Goldings (4.3%) Hopped with EKG.

We also expect to have beers from:

Brew Buddies, Hop Fuzz, Nelson Brewery and Rockin Robin.

*EKG stands for East Kent Goldings.

 

The great beery bake off?

Young woman pouring KGHB 2013 LOW RESWith just a week to go until the official start of Kent Green Hop Beer Fortnight I’m sure we’re all hoping the heavy rain and storms won’t still be with us as we take our first sips of green hop beer.

But as we’re likely to be cooped up indoors this weekend here’s the perfect distraction. Genuinely easy-to-make beer bread. (Recipe follows below). Damper style bread hails from Australia, is made without yeast and was traditionally cooked in the coals of campfires which had been damped down a little to allow the bread to bake.

We have Jane Murphy of Bexley Brewery to thank for sharing this recipe, which she says she likes because,  “I’m still a throw it all in a pot kind of cook from my student days.”

Jane, I like your style.

The nation seems enthralled by the phenomenon that is the Great British Bake Off, but not all of us are capable of pulling off a ‘showstopper’ bake. Almost anyone will be able to make a success of beery damper bread though. So why not think of this as the great beery bake off. Choose your beer, make your bread and compare with friends to see whose tastes best!

We’d love you to send us a note about – and pictures of – how your bread turns out. See our contact page for Sophie’s email address or Tweet us @KentGreenHop.

 

Bexley Brewery Jane’s

Cheesy ‘damper style’ beer bread

Ingredients

making-cheesy-beer-bread

  • 500g SR flour
  • 500ml beer (Almost any kind of ale will work, Beer Husband – who tested the recipe for us – opted for Woodforde’s Nog. Bottle conditioned will boost your bread with yeast. Why not use Kent Green Hop Beer once it’s available!)
  • 100 – 250g Grated mature Cheddar cheese (Or another cheese of your choosing. Use more or less cheese depending how cheesy you like it.)
  • Pinch of salt and pepper
  • You could add herbs at this stage as well (When Beer Husband tested the recipe he thought a spoon of honey might be a tasty addition).

Method

  • Preheat oven to 180 C. Mix all the ingredients together in a mixing bowl and spoon into a pan to make a big loaf or into a cake tin or muffin cases. (Beer Husband baked his damper in a loaf tin but he thought it might be better made in the traditional way, shaped into a circular loaf and baked on a tray).
  • Bake for 35-45 minutes.
  • Serve warm with chilli, soup etc. (Or if weather is hot serve with charcuterie, cold cuts, perhaps a tomato and a nice cool beer).
  • If you don’t eat it all and it begins to dry out, rub a garlic clove on it, re-heat and you have cheesy garlic beer bread.

cheesy-beer-bread

Kent Green Hop Beer Fortnight officially begins next Friday 23rd Sept at Canterbury Food & Drink Festival. We’ll be publishing the beer list early next week.