Soap, hops & beer

Had to stop to photograph these hops steadily climbing the strings on a farm just outside Faversham earlier today. Humulus lupulus is a herbaceous perennial (and an essential part of any good beer) that grows rapidly, pass the same place in spring & the fields look empty, by late August the hop bines have reached up to 6 meters tall & are ready for harvest.

Standing at the edge of this hop garden looking down the rows of poles & strings I started thinking about the harvest, one of the saddest parts of social distancing this year is the cancellation of the annual Hop Festival in Faversham, with all it’s medieval chaos & merrymaking. I’ve also been reading about soap made with beer & I know locally @dockerbrewery usually have a few bars in stock. It’s something I’ve never investigated, but given the abundance of hops & great beer in Kent it seems natural to pair the two. For anyone interested in learning more about the past & present of hop growing in Kent @favershamlife published an article a little while back...

Hop Pickers in Kent, 1928  image credit @historycollection

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