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Kent Green Hop Beer


On 17/10/13 by Steve Livens (Policy Manager - Product Assurance & Supply Chain)


The brewing industry is built on innovation. Refrigeration, measurement of temperatures and specific gravity, development of pale malt, not to mention the knowledge of microbiology that keeps our beer fresh and has enabled control of the fermentation process itself. These innovations are on the one hand individual landmark scientific events and on the other are inextricably linked to the history and development of today's multinational brewers.


Today, the wheels of innovation continue to turn, although the term is perhaps a little less about cutting edge science and more typically applied to the development of new beers, styles or categories, brewers utilising new or novel ingredients and the ways in which these are used. In this case the smaller brewers may be seen as the incubators for such radical behaviour...smaller ships need a little less room to manoeuvre!


So, what of beer styles? The prestigious World Beer Cup 2014 style guide recognises 94 different styles and sub styles and however you pitch it that's a lot of different ways to make beer! Nevertheless, this hasn't stopped the brewers of Kent from making a stand for the 95th style...Kent Green Hop Beer. Inspired by Eddie Gadd of The Ramsgate Brewery, who gave an impassioned presentation at the recent hop blessing held at The Shepherd Neame Brewery. For those of you who haven't experienced this unique event, it’s a little like a private harvest festival for hops!


Eddie has drawn a distinct set of criteria for the definition of Kent green hop beer. For one, the hops must be added within 12 hours of picking, straight from the bine and without drying. This is to protect the precious oils that give the beers their particular character. Only green hops from Kent will count and beers must be produced within the county boundary to hold the name.


The initial launch at the Canterbury Food and Drink Festival in 2012 was greeted with enthusiasm. For 2013 the brewers of Kent came out in force, with twenty three of the counties brewers large and small producing more than thirty versions of the beer. An effort resulting in Green Hop Beer fortnight, a two week event across September and October, which kicked off at the 2013 Canterbury Food and Drink Festival and was followed by a programme of 'open days' hosted by individual green hop beer brewers throughout Kent.


From small hop flowers do large hop bines grow...well something like that anyway! Whether or not Kent Green Hop Beer ever becomes an established and internationally recognised new beer style only time will tell. However, the creation of this 95th style is proof that innovation in the brewing industry is alive and kicking. Best of all it's open to everyone, whether large or small, old or new.


For more news about the beers and for upcoming events visit www.kentgreenhopbeer.com or follow on twitter @KentGreenHop



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