Feeling hop hop hop – Meantime Brewing plants urban hop farms across London this summer
London craft brewer, Meantime Brewing, has planted hundreds of hop plants across London in a bid to engage people with the art of British brewing. The hops grown will be used to create the City’s first “crowd-sourced” beer, Meantime True Brew of London.
The brewery has planted the hops in some of London’s most famous locations – including two Royal parks – St James’ Park and Regent’s Park, The Natural History Museum, The National Theatre, Battersea Power Station and Kensington Roof Gardens.
The move comes as London is experiencing a dramatic revival of interest in brewing – with around 40 breweries of varying scales now making beer in the capital. Only five years ago the industry had all but died out with just three working breweries left. Meantime hopes that the move will get more of the public interested in London’s brewing heritage, as well as with the modern industry that is thriving across the city.
In September, the hops will be harvested and used to create a ‘wet hop’ harvest beer at the Meantime Brewery in Greenwich. Aroma hops have been critical to the growth of modern craft brewing; a diverse variety types of hops have enabled brewers to be more creative in the beers they produce.
Hops, which can grow up to 10ft tall during their first year, are one of the key ingredients used in brewing. They are used to add aroma and flavour to a beer, as well as to provide bitterness that offsets the sweetness of the malt.
Premium retailer Waitrose is also backing the campaign, following a recently reported surge in sales. Dozens of pubs will contribute to the brew by growing hops in their gardens, on balconies and rooftops. The brewers are also growing plants in allotments and urban farms across the capital. They are offering hop shoots (known as rhyzomes) to those who get in touch with the team and want to take part firstname.lastname@example.org.
Once harvested, the hops will be used to give a true “flavour of the London” to the beer, which will be made at Meantime’s cutting edge brewery. It will be ready to drink by the end of the year, the True Brew of London will be available in pubs around the City to be enjoyed by those who have contributed to its making.
Nick Miller, Meantime’s CEO says:“London is an exciting place to be a brewer right now. The variety of ingredients at our disposal is huge and it allows us to pack flavour into our beer. I hope that our urban hop farm will make more of the public aware of that fact and help to get them to switch to beer that is locally made.
“While brewing was an industry that declined to an almost terminal point in London during the 1990s, a new generation of modern craft businesses has got it back on its feet and there are some fantastic beers that are bold, full of flavour and character – just like the city itself. The True Brew of London is about championing our Capital’s rich brewing heritage.
To make the True Brew of London, the hops will be dried and added together with other ingredients – malt, yeast and water. The beer will then be left to mature for a full eight weeks before being kegged and ready to serve.
Harry Ryder General Manager of Inn the Park says: “It’s great to be part of something that celebrates London and its produce. We’re fairly green-fingered so we’re hoping to grow some pretty decent tall and healthy hop plants on our roof terrace. And of course we’re looking forward to trying the beer.”
Alastair Hook, the Meantime Brewmaster who has been brewing in the Capital for over 20 years and has been a leading light in the revival of beer-making in the city said: “We’re Londoners at heart. Our beer is rooted in this town’s colourful brewing past, both in flavour and in character, but also in attitude. We’re growing hops with people and outlets that share our passion for this fine City and hope doing so will get a few more people excited about the quiet revolution going on in beer making.”
“This will be a beer made by Londoners, for Londoners.”
To see the location of each hop garden, take a look at the following map:
To find out how each hop garden is getting on, visit www.facebook.com/meantimebrewing