Monday, 28 March 2022

Road to Net Zero - Chapter 1

Here's a thing: fermentation produces heat, and if we didn't dissipate that heat the beer would be rubbish, so we use electricity to run refrigeration plants that chill glycol and pump it around jackets on the fermentation vessels, taking the heat away. When the ambient temperature is low, such as in the winter (or at night) the chillers don't need to work so hard, and so draw little electricity, and, conversely, when the ambient temperature is high, such as when the sun shines, the chillers work harder, drawing more electricity. Happily for us this matches electricity production from solar panels - they produce more in the daytime, and in the summer, than they do at night time, and in the winter. In 2020, just as the world locked down, we installed 45 solar panels on the roof of the brewery, and we now have some data to analyse their contribution.

The above graph shows the last 7 days, starting with Tuesday 22nd. The red area is consumption, and you can see how we have a base level of around 2 kW during the night, rising up to over 10 kW on most days as the chillers work harder. The extra tall spikes on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays are from the cask washer.

The blue area is solar production and it's plain to see that it's well matched to consumption. Green denotes times when production exceeds consumption and the excess goes into the grid. In the last 7 days we've consumed 627 kW hours, producing 57% of that ourselves.

If we're paying 15 pence per kWh, we've saved £53.60 in a week. The total project cost was £15k, so you can see payback is going to be around 8 years at today's prices. 

We're currently doing some feasibility work on a solar roof for the warehouse - it's a chilled space, and so there should be a good match there, but it's also used to charge the fork lift truck, a motorised pallet truck and a delivery van, and, since these activities occur mainly at night, their consumption won't match solar production unless we invest in a battery system, or rethink our habits. Once we have some data on consumption I'll share it with you.

Friday, 4 February 2022

Happy Birthday Old Friend

 I find it hard to believe, but the records confirm it - we've been brewing GADDS' Number 3 Premium Kentish Pale Ale for 20 years. In February 2002 I concocted a very simple pale ale using a high quality pale malted barley variety, and the very best hops I could find, East Kent Goldings. I can still vividly remember my first pint, how it tasted, and how I felt (pretty chuffed). The recipe hasn't changed ever since.

Here's some fun facts about GADDS' Number 3:

  • It was first brewed in the Royal Harbour Brewhouse and Bakers - we'd spent 18 months restoring this derelict restaurant on Ramsgate Seafront that later went on to become the Belgium Bar, the Green Tara and now the Ramsgate Market.
  • Our first customers were The Artillery Arms, The New Inn (Minster) and The Grange. 
  • In June of 2002 the we sold casks of Number 3 to the Montefiore Arms for the first time. The price was £55 each, plus vat.
  • Number 3 won 'Best Beer in Kent' in 2009, and 5 times after that, and was runner up Champion Beer of Britain in 2017.
  • I originally wanted to call it 'East Kent Gold', but was out voted by my fellow founders - both mathematicians, they felt simple numbers would allow the beer to do the talking. I can't argue with that.
Help us celebrate by voting for Number 3 in the Taste Of Kent Awards, and then reward yourself with a case or two of Number 3 from the shop, using the well deserved "ILOVENO3" code at checkout for a handy 20% discount*.


*one use per customer, ends 28th February 2002.

Sunday, 21 November 2021

Trouble Brewing

From time to time we need to talk about beer duty, one of the taxes that Her Majesty's Treasury applies to our fun, adding between 20 and 55p to a typical pint. We're happy to pay it, safe in the knowledge that the money raised is used to help fund social necessities such as schools and hospitals, and that the progressive system, introduced 20 years ago, is fair, with the most able (the multinational breweries) contributing the most.

However, as you may have read last year, plans have been drawn up by government to overhaul alcohol duties as a whole, and beer duty in particular. What you won't yet have read about are the implications of these changes, and that's what we need to talk about.

The calculation of beer duty isn't difficult, but it is boring, so I've done it for you. This is what it means for your regular pint, whether that's a beer from a small brewery such as GADDS' Number 5 Best Bitter,  a beer from a medium sized brewery such as Pig's Rump Best, or a beer from a massive multi-national corporation such as Green King Best. 

Small brewery beer duty will rise from around 24 to 27 pence per pint. Taking into account the pub's margin and vat, you'll likely see a rise of 8 pence a pint at the pumps.

Medium sized brewery beer duty will fall from 36 to 31 pence a pint, and you'll see the price at the pump drop by about 14 pence.

And mega-corp beer duty will also fall, from 48 to 45 pence leading to drop at the pumps by around 7 pence.

You'll have noticed that the largest, and the medium sized, brewers are to see a lowering of their duty liabilities, and you'll have noticed too that it's the smallest brewers paying for this. Why would the government do this? I honestly don't know, I've heard all the reasoning and none of it stacks up to scrutiny. Private Eye think they have a clue though:

Private Eye, September 2020

Tuesday, 7 September 2021

More Hop Harvest News



The much anticipated East Kent hop harvest has finally, falteringly, begun. Whilst growers out in the West Country have been busy for a week or more, most in Kent would agree that the local plants are a few-days-to-a-week behind. This is pretty unusual - hops begin to flower according to day length (for instance they go into 'burr', the first sign of flowering, on Summer's Day, the 25th July) so harvest is fairly predictable. However, this year's cold spring and disappointing Autumn, whilst not slowing flowering down per se, has kept the aroma development behind schedule. This current spurt of Indian summer has come just in time though, and those little heavenly cones should finish themselves off very nicely over the coming few days.

New Grower News
Since the sad closure of Humphrey's hop gardens, earlier this year, we've been busy getting to know John & Anna Clinch over at Syndale Farm, situated in a valley north of Faversham (anyone know the name of the valley?). I'm very happy to report that it's not only their East Kent Goldings that are of true origin and world beating quality, so are the growers! This is a small farm, run with passion, knowledge and heaps of laid back friendliness. And in Anna they have a grower for the future, so we get some long term hop supply stability once again. 

Green Hop Day - Saturday 18th September
Whilst much of our green hop brewing schedule has been delayed by a few days, we begin tomorrow morning with the first gyle (batch). I'm expecting the hop aroma to be a touch understated and we're planning to 'dry hop' this as we cask it next week to allow for that. You can join in too as we tap the very first barrel of Green Hop Ale 2021 up at the brewery at midday, Saturday the 18th. The freshest of beer will then pour until 4:45pm whilst we dance and fool around with the incomputable GADDZUKES! and enjoy Lisa's wonderful kerbside 5-star food. There is a small charge for tickets but you do get your first pint for free, so it's free, really. Tickets are available here.

Cask Green Hop Ale will go out to pubs and be available throughout East Kent from late September until mid-October (but is sometimes difficult to find as it sells out quickly).

Bottled Green Hop Ale ought to be released by October 1st but supply chain issues may delay this. We'll let you know.

The first pints of Green Hop Ale will be available in the Monte on the evening of Tuesday 21st. 

Monday, 6 September 2021

Hop Harvest Special Edition!


Brewing beer in East Kent is a rare privilege indeed – not only do we have gorgeous beaches and fabulously quirky seaside pubs, but we also have the world class East Kent Golding hops (you may have heard me mention them once or twice?). For all sorts of reasons Kent became the centre of UK hop growing and, despite all sorts of other reasons, it remains so to this day. And sometime around 200 years ago the Golding variety of hop was bred, and then cultivated round here, where it grew outrageously well, and still does.

Under normal circumstances hops are dried in order to preserve them for use throughout the year, however, during harvest we can nip out to the farm and beg, borrow or steal sacksful of freshly picked, lusciously green, undried flowers of nirvana, before rushing back to the brewery and tipping them into the day’s brew.

The resultant beer is a deliciously rounded pale ale with a touch of zest and the spirit of the East Kent Hop harvest. Obviously, this is a great thing to be celebrated and we’re kicking off this year’s fun with a tapping of the first barrel (and drinking it, and eating lovely food, and dancing with GADDZUKES) on Saturday 18th September.

Tickets are the price of a pint, and you get your first pint free. Here’s where to buy them.

Wednesday, 14 July 2021

Booster Pub List

Tapping on Monday at the following (mainly) East Kent pubs - do check with them before travelling.

The Ship Inn, Deal

The Phoenix, Canterbury

The New Inn, Sandwich

Furlongs Ale House, Faversham

The George and Dragon, Fordwich

The Rodney, Margate

The Churchill Tavern, Ramsgate

The Queen’s Head, Ramsgate

Barnacles, Margate

The Honeysuckle Inn, Ramsgate

The Tartar Frigate, Broadstairs

The Pavillion, Broadstairs

The Hovelling Boat Inn, Ramsgate

The Charles Dickens, Broadstairs

The Elephant and Castle, Ramsgate

The Bradstow Mill, Broadstairs

The White Swan, Reading Street

The Swan, Westgate

Rose of England, Ramsgate

Yard of Ale, St Peters

Mind the Gap Micropub, Broadstairs

Artillery Arms, Ramsgate

The Red Lion, Ramsgate

Sir Stanley Grey, Ramsgate

19th Hole, Broadstairs

The Wig and Pen, Margate

Three Pillars, Gravesend

One Inn the Wood, Orpington

The Kings Arms, Upnor

Prince of Ales, Rainham

Admiral’s Arm, Sheppey

Sturdee Social and bowling Club, Gillingham

The Montefiore Arms, Ramsgate

Kingshead, Kingsdown

Carpenters Arms, Coldred

The Just Reproach, Deal

The Freed Man, Deal

The New Inn, Canterbury

The Louis Armstrong, Dover

The Bake and Ale House, Westgate

The Green Berry, Deal

The Red Lion, Baddlesmere

The Tankerton Arms, Whitstable

Copper Pottle, Beltinge

The Bouncing Barrel, Herne Bay

The Ravensgate Arms, Ramsgate

The Ravensgate by the Sea, Ramsgate

Smugglers Records, Sandwich

Plough and Harrow, Tilmanston



Friday, 25 June 2021



Blonde Ale

Not the most historic of beer styles, Blonde Ale is said to have been developed in Belgium in the early 20th century in response to a rise in the popularity of Pilsners. It’s also said to have been invented by American craft brewers in the late 20th century to coax consumers away from American Pilsner. It’s not for us to care who’s right, we’re here to brew and enjoy.

Blonde Ales are pretty straight forward – pale/golden easy-drinking beers that are low in bitterness. We’ll be using our favourite malted barley variety, Maris Otter, for this one. ‘Otter’, as it’s commonly known amongst we brewers, is a barley variety dating back to the 1960s, which in agronomic terms is really, really old – there’s a conveyor belt of new varieties available to the farmer, each either yielding better, or less susceptible to pests and diseases, than the last. Despite farmers’ insistence that it ‘won’t stand up’ Otter has survived because small cask ale brewers in the UK insist upon using it – it’s quite simply the best tasting malt there is and we’re all prepared to pay a decent premium to get hold of it. Its biscuity sweetness will go very well in our new Blonde Ale.

Hopwise, this will be another beer to showcase East Kent Goldings. The style is mild in bitterness terms, which gives us an opportunity to explore the lemony character of EKG (in a similar way to the way use them in High Tide) without fear of astringency spoiling the party. So we’ll have some in there as first wort additions (see earlier editions of NotB) and then balefuls of them at the end of the boil.

Fermentation will be around 22°C with our house ale yeast (a touch higher than normal, in an effort to produce some fruity aromas) and the whole batch will be cask conditioned, enjoying that magical secondary fermentation in the cellar. We’ll then persuade as many of our pub customers as possible to take a cask with a view to tapping and serving it from Monday 19th July, a date we all hope will be long remembered as the day the pubs reopened properly, and successfully. In a normal year British pubs raise over £100 million for charity – this isn’t a normal year and now those same pubs could do with a little Boost themselves. Next week I’ll be able to give you an idea of what pubs will be stocking Booster – do drop into one or two and enjoy an easy drinking Blonde Ale.