Tuesday, 5 March 2019

Spread of Democracy

We're not known for our collaborations. Younger, more dynamic brewers than us have been having a great time for years, visiting each other, comparing notes and combining their knowledge, skill and understanding to create a beer greater than the sum of it's parts. But we've never really done it...until now.
The Citizens of Everywhere project invited us to join their adventure and paired us with Pohjala, the Estonian brewery on every dark beer lovers lips these days. Ours is just one of twelve pan-European collaborations happening this year involving a total of 24 breweries from across the continent, probably the biggest such project to have been attempted. It's a celebration of Europe, focusing on the positive influence the EU has had on our lives, and the theme for our collaboration is democracy. It's something our collaborative chums don't take for granted, having broken free from the Soviet Union less than 30 years ago, and their enthusiasm for 'it' was amply demonstrated by a 63% turnout in last weekend's general election.
But the beer? It's a big bodied 5.3% Baltic Porter, brewed with juniper berries and spruce tips that cut right through the delicious dark malts and add a layer of complexity usually reserved for solely for hops. We've put much of it into cans (on sale via Eebria, soon) and some of it nitro'ed, into keykegs (available direct from the brewery). There are launch parties all over the country at various brewery taps and craft bars towards the end of March, and we'll have a little one of our own down the Ravensgate, tbc.

Note that the label says 'tones', not tonnes - this is deliberate, as tonnes of juniper and spruce would be inappropriate in a beer.

Sunday, 15 July 2018

Fat, drunk and stupid is no way to go through life, son*

*Dean Wormer to Kent Dorfman in National Lampoon's Animal House 

Anytime Pale Ale

Let’s face it, even us die hard beer lovers find occasions and times of the day that are unsuited to enjoying a pint or two of the local Best Bitter. Whilst mornings have never been an appropriate reason for a beer, these days the lunchtime pint interferes with our productivity at work, January is reserved for regaining some self esteem after the holiday’s excesses, and training for that late Springtime charity bike ride requires us hitting our very best power to weight ratio. Couple all that with balancing our moderate weekly consumption, and occasionally being left in charge of a vehicle, before you know it what was once a staple of our diet has become an all-too-rare treat.
Faced with the relentless onslaught of changing life styles versus an immoveable love for beer we’ve spent many months developing a super fresh, tasty drink that satisfies our yearning for tangy, bitter hops whilst allowing us the freedom to discharge our daily responsibilities to those around us, and to ourselves.
Super low in calories and alcohol, GADDS’ Number 11 Ultra-light Anytime Pale Ale is carefully crafted, unfiltered, to give a delicious citrus aroma, and to deliver a crisp and clean, refreshing flavour. And at 0.4 units, and 37 calories a can, it’s next to impossible to get either pissed or fat drinking it.

Launch event!

Come to the Brewery on Saturday 21st July, before 1pm, for a free tasting.

Saturday, 13 August 2016

No Jive Turkey here.

Here's a secret: dark beer aged in Wild Turkey bourbon casks takes on a quite particular delicious smoothness. Other bourbon casks are available, but none are quite so good as Wild Turkey. Use them twice.
I was gifted some of these casks a few years ago and their first (beer) fill was our 2012 Imperial Russian Stout (long since gone). Their second fill happened in February of this year and this time we used Black Pearl Oyster Stout (vg). The beer takes the flavour on pretty quickly but to get the real depth, and mellow smoothness, time must be added in judicious amounts. This beer reached full term at the beginning of November and was bottled and laid down to condition. I tried it a couple of nights ago, and then again last night, and it's delicious.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Down on the Farm

Harvest will be upon us before we know it, and the realisation of this tipped me out of bed early this morning to head down to the farm for a look at our hops.

Humphrey was out, then back, then dashing out again on some farmer type business, so I was left to my own devices to assess the state of play. My (amateur) reading of the situation is thus: early rain has caused excess vegetative growth in some of the Goldings, stopping the sunshine getting down the bine and causing the flowers to concentrate at the top - this will lead to a lower yield. In other areas this hasn't been a problem and the bines are in cone all the way down. Maturity is patchy - some plants in burr, some in full cone - it is early for East Kent afterall. Apart from that, they look clean, unbruised, and loving the warm sunshine.

This pundit is going for a 5th September start to the eastest of east Kent's hop harvest. Here's some photos:

Monday, 6 June 2016

Summer's Day

This delicious little hoppy amber ale is going to be launched next Wednesday evening, the 15th June, in the Montefiore Arms. From 7:30pm you'll be treated to singing, dancing, nibbling and supping.

Wednesday, 25 May 2016

East Kent IPA

East Kent IPA is a pretty full bodied ale with a tangy bitterness to balance; it's extreme, but you don't really notice. The hops are all East Kent Goldings, from the 2015 growth at Humphrey Hulme's Brook Farm. It was a shocking harvest, with terrible picking conditions, yet the quality in the brewing is the best I've seen for 15 years: a deep, fruity lemon balm character balances a light, classy pepperiness. 

We bottled this year's gyle with an inoculation of  brettanomyces claussenii and laid it down for 3 months, allowing tropical fruit aromas to develop. We also put the corks in too far and used the wrong cage - the result is an infuriatingly awkward beer to get at that more than rewards the effort taken to get it.

Enjoy it chilled, with Jalebi, green chili chutney and a sour slaw (and a pair of pliers and a corkscrew).

Tuesday, 23 February 2016


New beer alert:

The 2014 harvest in East Kent turned out pretty well; we got a good deal of great hops, the winemakers had a ball and soft fruit was piling up all over the place. Following a visit to the hop gardens, Brewer Sue persuaded us to relieve the grower of heaps of cherries and apricots, and make some beer with them.

Now brewing with fruit can be straight forward (and dull), or it can be a tricky, drawn-out affair. I chose the latter because it's more fun - it's a different kind of brewing, the kind where the beer itself takes control and we watch, and wait, and wonder if it will ever be tasty.

I dream of apricots

Our base beer was a mid-strength pale, very low on bitterness but with a generous amount of fruity hops on the nose. This sat on our apricots for a month or so, macerating them and absorbing their lovely flavours, and a little colour. We added brettanomyces claussenii (a yeasty type organism that works very, very slowly, giving a tropical fruit aroma) and lactobacillus brevis (a jolly decent bacteria that acidifies beer, and does us good). After nearly 18 months in the bottle the beer finally came into a magnificent balance: pale, with a lively effervescence and a pure white, lasting head; the aroma fruity, with apricots all over it, leading to a crispy, sharp flavour of apricots in the mouth. The finish is decent, not too long for this refreshing style of beer, but neither is it short. I'm chuffed with this one.


The same base beer was left to sit on cherries for a month or so, then bottled with brettanomyces lambicus (this gives a distinctive horse-blanket aroma - you may never have come across a horse blanket, I haven't, so just think sort of warm, and funky) and L. brevis, as before. I didn't use nearly enough cherries, so the beer is dominated by the brett. This is a full and funky beer (which I love) with a fairly short, sharp finish (and I spend the entire bottle musing over whether this a good thing, or not). If you like brett, you ought to try this one.

Next up, from the cellars of my mind, is a 3-yearold very gueuzie non-gueuze and a rather daft, 4-yearold super-sour, peaty stout, which needs blackberries.