Last week despite my preference for spending Thursday nights hitting people I found myself in a pub in Kent playing bat and trap, a game popular with the locals. Shepherd Neame brewery were having a do and people from various companies they work with were invited.
Having recently learnt that there's talk of Sheps avoiding the problem of light strike by using reduced hop extracts, or even no hops at all I took the opportunity to talk to members of the brewing staff about exactly what hops they do use, and how much.
Being a traditional Kentish brewery (or is it brewery of Kent?) they do of course use a lot of hops. The core beer range is all hops from Kent (Target, Admiral, First Gold and Goldings were mentioned), and with their craftier beers they've branched out to use foreign hops such as Centennial and Saaz too. As to how much hops they use, the beer I was on, Master Brew (3.7% ABV) has around 35 bitterness units, the sort of hopping rate that would put it in the realms of craft beer if only it tasted of grapefruit. Perhaps they would get more cred if they called it a Session IPA rather than a Kentish ale.