On Thursday I was lucky enough to visit the hop part of the Hampton Estate in Puttenham. For many years this was the last surviving hop grower in the Farnham area, something which allowed me to add a more upbeat ending to my magnum opus when I sent it to the Brewery History Society.
|Hops ready for picking|
Since then Farnham hops have revived beyond the scope of my wildest dreams. OK, maybe not my wildest dreams but certainly beyond anything I considered remotely likely to happen. The Hog’s Back Brewery have started growing their own hops at Tongham, including Farnham whitebines, making them no longer a mere historical curiosity but very much part of the present.
|Craft beer favourite fuggles hops|
|Bill Biddell of the Hampton Estate|
The revival of Farnham hop growing is to continue apace as the Hampton Estate is doubling its acreage, as well as building a new kiln. This must surely make Farnham the world’s most successful hop growing area. In the past two years we have had:
- A 100% increase in the number of hop farms
- A 118% increase in acreage
- A 200% increase in the number of varieties grown
|Hops in the kiln|
|Hop pocket being pressed|
|That logo rings a bell|
The only downside was that I heard from the Hog’s Back Head Brewer that their whitebine beer won’t be out until Christmas. Oh well, as it’s been over eighty years since the last whitebine beer I suppose I can wait a few months longer.