Between the 1920s and 1960s, at the end of the summer, thousands of East End Londoners, mostly women and children, would travel to Kent’s hop fields to pick the annual harvest. It was a vacation of sorts—hard labor in the late-summer sun to earn a bit of extra money.
Hops have been grown in Kent—known as The Garden of England —since the 16th century. The county has always accounted for significant amounts of England’s annual hop acreage, with farmers such as Mr Golding and Mr Fuggle giving their names to new hop varieties.
Visit To Kent Green Hop Beer Fortnight The Hop Garden Of England Photo Gallery
Since reaching a peak in 1878, the hop acreage has dropped, but Kent is now seeing a resurgence of brewers and an interest in the local hops. Every September Kent’s brewers each produce their own Kent green-hopped beers, taking the fresh hops straight from the farms and brewing with them as quickly as possible. It’s a great way to celebrate both their location and the fine Kentish hops. They collectively hold a Kent Green Hop Beer Fortnight in different pubs around the county, with all the beers typically being showcased at a food and drink festival held in Canterbury (dates vary for this).
Green-hopped beers are the only truly seasonal brew, as they are possible for just a few weeks of the year and are usually best in those areas that are very close to hop farms. Kent is one of the best places to experience these annual one-off brews and the beer to look out for is Gadds Brewery’s Green Hop Ale, a Pale Ale that uses lots of East Kent Goldings to add their tangy, grassy, spicy aromas.
WHAT: Kent Green Hop Beer Fortnight
HOW: Visit www.kentgreenhopbeer.com for dates, breweries, and beers, plus the locations where you can drink them. Many towns in Kent are easily accessible via train in and out of London.
WHERE: Mostly East Kent, England
Hops have been growing in Kent since the 1500s.
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