Over Christmas I finally had the chance to sit down and work on a recipe I have been meaning to do for a long time. We have used East Kent Goldings in a few beers recently, our RyePA, Clovis Point Brown and our Neanderthal but I have yet to keen to use it in an all English hopped pale ale that can really showcase English hops. We've been quite impressed with a few breweries who use pressurised vessels to pump beer through a bed of hops so we decided to create our own hop vessel. This was the first time we tried it (and also the first time we have used quite this quantity of hops) so we had high hopes for the beer. Having tasted the beer from the fermenter it seems to have been well worth while and a technique we will be rolling out on a number roof new beers in the future. The final beer is 5% and hopped with First Gold and East Kent Goldings, with their distinctive honey and spice and aroma.
Christmas was a busy affair at the brewery this year, we began putting out our bottled beers just before Christmas with our Christmas Club being the first to go into bottles. The demand caught us a bit off guard and we sold everything we had in two weeks. Add to that the fact that I decided to take a week off at Christmas and it meant that December was pretty much 7 days a week brewing, filling bottles and casks and trying to get ahead so we could shut the brewery down and yet still provide stock over the holidays. Happily we managed to get through and we are now back to full production. We will be bottling all of our one off specials this year as well as Cavedweller and Clovis Point Brown and we will be taking these to various farmers markets as well selling through our usual customer base.
It's Green Hop time again. This year we are brewing 3 different beers, using 3 different Kent grown hops. Most of the brewers in Kent will be getting involved and brewing with fresh hops, straight from Kent's hop growers and into the boil within a matter of hours.
The first beer we are brewing will be a 3.5% pale ale using Bramling Cross hops. These fragile hops produce a lovely berry fruit and spice aroma, however they have been low yielding in the last couple of years as the winters have lacked the cold frosts which the Bramling Cross hops benefit from. Sadly if winters continue to be as mild as they have been I expect many Kent growers to move away from this pungent variety to more economically viable hops.
Last years Barnfield Red was very popular so we are brewing it again. This year we will be using Challenger hops from Hukins Farm, Tenterden. These hops give a spicey, cedar aroma which works well with the crystal notes of the red ale. Named after the Barnfield Pit site near the brewery which inspired the name for our brewery.
A new beer for this year, Heidi's Brown will be a 4.7% hoppy brown ale. It is brewed with Bullion hops, which are an old English variety which has had a lot of success in the US, but is now almost non existent in the UK. The hop as a pungent Orange and Lemon aroma which is well suited to a hoppy brown ale, blending the citrus flavours with the caramel and roast from the malts. Named for the Swanscombe Woman, who's skull was discovered at Barnfield Pit and is often identified as Homo Hiedelbergensis. The beer will be brewed by Helen Farrow and it will be her first Green Hop beer.
Current scientific understanding points to Homo Sapiens developing alongside other primates in what is now Ethiopia around 195,000 years ago. At the same time there were various primates of the genus Homo which could have developed into the planet's most dominate lifeform. All of these can trace their ancestry back to Homo habilis, the first of the Homo genus.
Our Common Ancestor beers are inspired by this concept. We used a single mash which would give rise to two different species of beer - one a 3.5% pale ale and the other a 6.4% IPA. The mash contained rye, vienna and pale malts to provide a heavy malty backbone which adds interest to the pale ale and provides a strong malt body to the IPA. We then hopped each beer with Simcoe, Citra and Galaxy to add some fruity hoppiness. These beers are presented at the same time to allow you to experience the differences this divergence in the family tree has caused, or maybe blend the two to gain an insight into what may have been should evolution have taken a different path.