Here at Canopy Beer Co our local area is important to us, as are seasonal, local ingredients. So we were thrilled at the chance to make a beer using hops grown in the surrounding area, by our friends and customers. For the past two years we have had the pleasure of collaborating with hop growing cooperative Brixton Beer Co (not to be confused with our neighbours Brixton Brewery), to create a beer that’s as local as Royston Vasey is to The League of Gentleman. Introducing, for the second time at least, the Green Hop Pale Ale. “Is the beer green?” I hear you cry - no, but the hops are! Freshly picked from the vine, these hops go from garden to brewhouse in less than 24hrs, unlike the hops we usually use which are dried after being harvested and then pressed into bales or pellets in order to preserve them.
Brixton Beer Co was established by Helen Steer and Ann Bodkin whose original goal was to celebrate beer and get people excited about regional food and drink as well as bringing back the age old tradition of English grown hops. They started by creating a "patchwork farm" across South London to get “lots of people and lots of tiny pockets of growing spaces,” Ann explained. “Unlike the acreage of a hop farm, cities have siginificantly less space to grow hops but they are like skyscrapers, as they are a very efficient use of land because they grow vertically,” she added. Our staple pale ale, Sunray, uses a blend of more aromatic American based hops (Centennial and Chinook). The Green Hop is a more traditional English pale ale and a network of micro-farmers in South London makes this beer possible.
The group of green fingered horticulturalists came down to the brewery on the 30th of September to have a weigh in, they gathered their crops and the dedicated organiser Ann tallied up the scores and everyone had a grand time drinking our range, talking about beer and hops. It’s not a competition, but there is, of course, a leaderboard and our neighbor Mr Neil Dugard of Dugard & Daughters – a fabulous Herne Hill butchers and larder - tops the list with a fantastic harvest of 4.9kg. There was a good showing from English hop enthusiast Peter Haydon too, who brewed the original Brixton Beer Co beer with his A Head in a Hat brewery (previously based in the Florence, around the corner from us in Herne Hill).
This year's Green Hop was sold to local pubs and bars, all keen to share a truly local product with their customers. We still have the last keg pouring at the brewery so make sure you come down and try this light, effervescent, delicious local pale ale before it’s all gone, until next year!
If you'd like to be part of this beer and grow hops in your garden or allotment then join Brixton Beer Co's Facebook page here for more information, and next year you could be drinking your own Green Hop.
Hop weigh-in tally:
1400g Peter Haydon
4900g Neil Dugard (Dugard & Daughters)
1840g Dave Clark
2120g Sue Sheehan
560g Ian & Anne (Brixton Cornercopia)
120g (Glenda Read)
2260g Tina & Paul
220g Caroline Palmer & Charlie Holland
20g Melanie Fanstone
120g Mary & Michael Bodkin (mum & dad)
900g Carole Backler & Roy Thompson
920g Kim Hart & Tim Stephens
740g Kallis Shamaris
60g Ragged Canteen (Iben la Cour)
820g Iben la Cour
1380g Kate Seabag (Brockwell Greenhouses)
460g Tim Dickens (mystery bag)
700g Jez Galaun (Brixton Brewery)