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

Booster

 

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.


Friday, 14 May 2021

Beer update edition

 

East Kent Pilsner

This beer is moving from the ‘lagering’ to the ‘coming soon’ phase. At this stage we brewers begin to get anxious and insecure, and we attempt to take our minds off all the things that can still go wrong by looking at pretty labels and pretending they’re important. If all goes to plan, everyone around us is totally focused on different shades and textures and forgets to ask us how the actual beer is doing. That’s the way we operate, it’s a protection mechanism. (As it happens, my lager brewing guru visited yesterday and gave us the thumbs up – so far so good).

East Kent Krausened Draft Keller Pilsner

A Keller Pils is, broadly speaking, an unfiltered lager, and krausening (adding fermenting beer to a finished beer to carbonate it) is one of the sexiest things that you can do in a brewery (without contravening good food safety practice). The beer is coming to the end of the lagering phase and we’re allowing the temperature to rise from below zero to 7°C (pretty much ambient at the moment). Once it’s there we’ll begin brewing the next batch and, a day after that, we’ll pump a couple of hundred litres of fully fermenting beer into the finished beer before kegging it and allowing a secondary fermentation in the cellar (keller). By July we should have something pretty special, fingers crossed.

Booster – I Love This Pub (Blonde Ale)

Huge thanks to all of you who donned the thinking caps and came up with a huge list of extremely funny beer name suggestions. I understand that not all of them were supposed to be funny, so I’ll spare blushes and not list those that had us rolling on the floor. Thanks go to Gill Keay from Canterbury for ‘Booster’ which sums up nicely what we all need to give to our local pubs (and apologies too for the addition of ‘I Love This Pub’ – I couldn’t stop myself). I’ll be inviting Gill (and her plus 1) to the brewery to help us craft a delicious Blonde Ale using sweet biscuity malts and perfumed, lemony EKG hops. It’ll be an easy like a Sunday morning kind of beer, mellow and refreshing and should be in pubs from early June.

Dates for your diary

Monday 17th May – the Montefiore Arms opens its doors! Matt and Harry will be there to welcome you back from midday.


Friday, 30 April 2021

The Greengage Summer


Last week we talked a little about the Lambic Dreamer project, and whilst I have lots of other things to say about lots of other things, this week is also about the Lambic Dreamer, specifically the Greengage Lambic Dreamer. (Don't worry, next week will be about bitter again).

Gages are a sort of plum, and greengages are a green sort of gage. By all accounts (wikipedia) they originated in Iran and became pretty popular across Europe and the Americas due to their delicious sweetness when ripe. In fact, according to Humphrey the Plum Grower (yes, the very same man who grows hops), they're way sweeter than all other plums. He asserted this whilst tossing an unripened gage to me late one summer in his orchard. What he didn't tell me was how fantastically sharp and tart they are when unripe, in a bulldog/wasp kind of way (I discovered this for myself one bite later). Chefs love the sweetness of the ripe fruit and make compote with it, I loved the tartness of the unripe fruit and made some beer with it.

We had the fruits harvested unripe, and stored them cool, turning and checking them daily – the wise plum grower knows that when greengages are ready to ripen they go quickly, almost overnight, and I wanted to catch them at maximum (green) acidity, and minimum pluminess. As soon as the first gage softened we went to work, halving the fruits and dividing those halves between stoned halves and straight halves, immersing them in separate barrels of the same wild-fermented beer. After some months the beers were bottled and left for another year to allow for a decent secondary fermentation (it didn’t take that long for the wild yeasts to bring the beer into condition, but a global pandemic happened to be passing and scuppered plans for a timely release). They’re now good, and ready to drink.

As you know, the wild-fermented base beer is full of dry, refreshing complexity. This has now been joined by a large boost of tarty fruitness (and fruity tartness), adding a Sunday best dimension to the experience. It’s become the perfect beer to go with plum pudding in the garden on a summer’s day when the vicar visits and, whilst it isn’t exactly summer tomorrow, it should be dry, and we can’t go to the pub, so let’s invite the vicar round and get the plum pudding out the freezer. Tasting begins at 2pm (sharp) in the Brewery Garden, all welcome – I’ll bring the beer, you bring the pudding (and the vicar).

If you can't make it, the beer is available here, and if you can, please consider dropping a donation into Oasis here.

Friday, 23 April 2021

From the Cellars of the Lambic Dreamer


As a young brewing apprentice in the early 90s I was lucky enough to visit Frank Boon, a Belgian brewer with his heart set on reviving the tradition of 'lambic' brewing. Rather than adding a pure yeast culture to ferment their beers, Lambic brewers encourage wild yeasts in the atmosphere to do the job instead. I found it fascinating, and have been a little obsessed with unlocking the mysterious secrets ever since. But Frank has spent his entire career mastering this ancient technique (with huge success) and was never going to make my own journey an easy one. It's taken nearly 20 years of conversations and beers with the handful of Lambic brewers and blenders left in production to begin to get an understanding of this dark art. Today I'll share a teaser or two, with you.

Firstly - wild yeasts are all around us, they're in the atmosphere and on plants and fruits and animals and in the soil. They especially love fruit, where they can indulge in the sugar, fermenting it into alcohol. That's how wine is made. They also love the sugar from malted grains, that's how beer is made. In the brewing of regular beer we've long since isolated a single, suitable yeast cell and developed a pure culture from it; in wild fermented beer we encourage as many different wild yeasts as possible to inoculate our sweet wort and ferment it to beer. The thing is, each wild cell will flourish and reproduce under slightly different conditions, and each will create a flavour of its own. This results in a long, slow fermentation and a highly complex finished flavour. 

Secondly - in order to achieve balance we need some acidity, and whilst some of the yeast can provide a little (under certain conditions) we really need some friendly bacteria to help us out. A very gentle souring can be obtained by allowing lactobacillus to produce lactic acid, and a sharper acidity, very low in intensity, can be obtained by allowing acetic acid producing bacteria to do their thing. 

Thirdly - we need to allow a little oxygen in. In regular beer production we spend a great deal of time excluding oxygen to an obsessively low level, but here, in order to encourage the creation of a little acetic acid, a very slow, controlled ingress of the stuff is required. This is the reason we ferment the beer in oak barrels. We're not after the wood flavour, or the flavour of the liquid that was previously in the barrels, but the ability of the barrel to allow oxygen through the tiny pores in the wood. The pores in the wood also provide a safe harbour for our growing family of wild yeasts, bonus. 

Lastly - the acidity of the beer is perfectly suited to, and rather enhanced by, the use of locally grown fruits such as raspberries, cherries, apricots and plums. Not only do these fruits help create elegant and refined beers, they also bring their own wild yeasts to the party, and so each year our family of little helpers grows, becoming ever more complex and nuanced. Double bonus. 

Over the last 10 years we've been playing around with oak barrels, local fruits and wild yeasts, randomly 'releasing' our efforts from time to time. Last Saturday we opened a few bottles of a wild apricot beer, sampling it in the weak-but-welcome April sunshine (and a fine afternoon it was too - thanks for all who made it). From today we're beginning to make our efforts available in the webshop and the actual shop and are releasing 'Blend 17' (the original),'Cherry (Disaster) 19' and 'I (still) Dream of Apricots' Over the coming weeks we should have a further three tastings and subsequent releases, starting with a rather pleasingly tart greengage beer. Please come along, and allow me to fill the air with more talk of wild yeasts and mysterious fermentations.

Friday, 9 April 2021

News of the Brews

 

That's right, we need you. For the past 20 years we've brewed beer for pubs, and they've sold it to you. These last 380 days or so we've brewed it for you, and delivered it directly to you. And whilst the 'eve of pub reopening is upon us, we're in no doubt that the new tomorrow very much involves us continuing to brew for, and deliver to, you. Help us in our mission by recruiting new GADDS' customers - send your family, friends and neighbours this new customer promotion code (NEWTOGADDS) - they'll get a sweet 10% discount on their first order and, if they put your name and email address in the customer comments box at checkout, we'll send you a code too. So go on, call your Mum/daughter/sister/brother/neighbour and get them on the case. Code is for first time customers only, and expires in a week. Shop here.

Lager school

I have to tell you about this book - A Brief History of Lager, by Mark Dredge. It's a truly fascinating story full of incredible brewing feats and social history, told in a witty, insightful and engaging manner by one of the UK's best food and drink
writers. I'm half way through it and can't put it down. Lager is way, way more interesting than I ever knew, and a lot funnier too. From caves in the Bavarian countryside with beer gardens on top of them, to Prince's palaces and beer halls the size of football pitches, this story is about life itself. I give it a solid 5 stars, highly recommended.

Beer updates

The Grand Reopening of Pubs Beer (indoors) has yet to brewed or named, despite a bag full of ingenious and witty suggestions put forward by you lot. I have settled on a style though - an English Pale Ale. That might sound dull but it won't be - it'll be exquisitely balanced with a delicate, lemony undertone of EKGs, refreshing, pleasing and reassuring. I better make my mind up about the name.

GADDS' Number 7 Pale Bitter Ale (The Brewery Workhorse) is back on the schedule and will be conditioned and ready to serve by mid-May. It's been too long since I've had a pint (or 7) of this.

East Kent Pilsner has finished its primary fermentation and is looking promising. A four week 'lagering' phase begins today as we drop the temperature from 10 oC to zero over the next 5 days, and hold it there. We call this 'tank time' - it's an inexplicable quality experienced brewers can taste, can agree upon, but can't put their finger on.

I Still Dream of Apricots is ready to taste (and launch) next Saturday (April 17th) at 2pm here, outside in the Brewery Garden. Apricots appear in our dreams as a symbol of the future, and, despite the travails and the profound sadness we're all experiencing at the moment, this optimism keeps us all going. The beer is wild fermented with a mixture of yeasts captured in Brabant and in Humphrey's apricot orchards in Hoaden. It's refreshingly tart, fruity and wild. All welcome.

Delivery request

For Thursday and Friday polypin deliveries please get your orders in by 4pm Wednesday, if at all possible. It isn't a deadline, we'll always do everything we 
can to deliver last minute Charlies, but it would help the crew. Thanks.

Dates for your Diary

Friday April 16th – the Ravensgate-by-the-Sea reopens for the summer!

Saturday April 17th at 2pm – a mini-launch and tasting of this year’s wild fermented Apricot Beer, at the Brewery Tap. More details on this project to follow. 



Friday, 2 April 2021

New brew news

 During the last year we’ve had to change our business away from brewing for pubs and towards brewing for the home. One of the effects of this change has been a far higher turnover of bottled and canned beer, allowing us to add “High Tide Tripel” and “Chairman of the Board Barley Wine” to the range. And since the introduction of these beers hasn’t slowed the rate of sale of the others I’m encouraged to add more to the range. I generally keep a couple or three beers in my head at any one time, waiting for excuse or opportunity to add a name, then a label, and finally get the damn thing off my mind, into the mash tun, copper, fermenter and finally into a cask or bottle. Here’s one such opportunity.

Inspiration comes from many directions, but this time, unusually, it’s come from one of our own beers – the green hop special edition we did last year we called “Ship of Fools”. Although very much a pale ale, the way we used the hops hinted at certain aspects of East Kent Goldings not often encountered – namely their ‘nobility’. Four continental hop varieties are classed as ‘noble’ due to the timeless quality of the balance of their flavour - Saaz, Tettnang, Hallertau and Spalt – and it’s long been postulated that EKG shares the same characteristics. However, whilst the continental varieties are used in pale, crisp lager styles that showcase this nobility, we use EKG in pale ales, which champions a slightly different aspect to their character.

So, this beer in my head seeks to uncover the true nobility of EKG in a way we haven’t done before, by using them to brew a crisp, pale continental lager style beer. And we started the process earlier this week. We’ve used continental style malts, really pale and biscuity, and a slightly unusual hopping technique (house secret), along with a classic, bready, German yeast strain. Fermentation is ‘low and slow’, running at a cool 12 oC for 10 days (rather than 20 oC for 4 days), and by next week we’ll reduce the temperature to -1 oC and ‘lager’ the beer for 4 weeks.

The end result might be a deliciously refreshing Pilsner with a gorgeous, balanced, noble hop character; a really, really good lager beer brewed with EKGs. I certainly hope so.

So, look out for this new beer, sometime in May or early June, just as the blistering heat of a Kentish summer begins to build.