Our first beer, brewed in April of 2002, was GADDS’ Number 3 – “a pale ale to speak for modern Kent” as it says on the brew sheet. Great Pedding Farm in Shatterling (on the way to Wingham), is the nearest hop garden to the brewery, and Humphrey has been growing the most easterly of EKGs there all his life. The relationship between the brewery and the hop garden, the brewer and the grower, and the hops and the beer, has grown vigorously and fruitfully for the last two decades, and those hops have become the very bedrock of GADDS’ itself. From this has spawned not only GADDS’ Number 3, but Number 7, Number 5, Green Hop Ale, Seasider, High Tide, Chairman of the Board, Ship of Fools and Blend 17 to name just a few. And, as the years go by, more and more GADDS’ beers are built on these hops and these relationships. As one of the lucky brewers to brew in east Kent, I think I’m probably the luckiest.
Sadly, however, this too will pass, and rather sooner than I wanted or expected. One result of lockdown has been plummeting beer sales, resulting in plummeting hop usage. And since hops are grown seasonally, in advance, the world hop markets are now stuffed to overload, contracts are getting ripped up and prices are teetering on the edge of financial disaster. And all this came barrelling home yesterday with the devasting news that our local hop grower, and dear friend, is shutting down and ‘grubbing out’ his plants. We’re all in a state of shock, and the very soul of our brewery is taking a battering.
As a GADDS’ beer drinker though you need not be overly concerned – we have enough hops from last year to see us through until 2022, and can secure more if needed. We also have decent alternative local growers to go to, so whilst we’ll feel a seismic change at the brewery, in all probability you won’t notice a lot of difference in the beer.
But let’s spend some quality time thinking about the amazing relationships that exist between the land, the weather and the beer in our glass, and all those fabulously rich relationships along the way. And let’s do this the only way we know how, with a glass or two of Humphrey’s beer, GADDS’ Number 3 Premium Kent Pale Ale. It just so happens we have a fresh batch in, so grab this discount code “HERESTOHUMPHREY”, jump in the store (www.ramsgatebrewery.co.uk) and fill your basket with the true taste of East Kent.
 Brewery History Society 118, pp. 21-26