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The intoxicating smell of hops and malt

I have been brewing beer since childhood.

Well when I say brewing, I mean as a child the whole family were press-ganged

twice a month, all hands on deck, to assist Father in the home brew cycle.

My poor Mother's kitchen was raucously comandeered and the whole house

smelt of deliciously sticky-sweet malt and hops.

It was noisy, chaos and heaps of fun.

Of course we were never allowed to reap the rewards of our labours

until we reached the appropriate age but we did receive a hallowed ration

of lovely thick, sticky malt loaf (slices of which were slathered with butter)

which Mum made from the left over malt extract.

Weeks later when the yeast had done its job in the fermenting bucket,

that again took pride of place in poor Mum's kitchen, the crew were once more

mustered for bottling duty.

All hands to the pumps.

Sterilising, rinsing, priming with a half teaspoon of sugar

and syphoning into huge quart bottles with rubber screw caps.

It was basic and compared to today's standards, very amateurish but we loved doing it and later when I was old enough, must admit it did taste rather good.

Well done Dad.

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Also at that time, I used to play down on the banks of the River Medway around Sharps Green and Motney Hill. On the way there along Bloors Lane and the Lower Rainham Road, we walked past the local hop fields.

I loved the smell of hops and used to pick some flowers to keep in my pocket.

 

It is a real joy to be back amongst the hops and malt and brew beer once more, although to a different standard.

To explore new flavours through marrying different varieties of hops.

Respecting the old values, seeking a perfect Best Bitter using the classic Kent hops, Fuggles (released in 1875 by Richard Fuggle from a seedling selected in 1861) and East Kent Goldings (developed from the Canterbury Whitebine variety in the late 1700’s and sold as East Kent Goldings since 1838).

 

I currently brew in my house in East Street, Herne Bay which is about fifteen footsteps from the sea and hope you enjoy the fruits of my labor, "Fruit of the vine and work of human hands".

 

Share with me my journey as Herne Bay's local Hand-Craft Ale Brewer.

 

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