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Kent Beer of the Year Finalist: Ramsgate Brewery

Lois and Eddie Gadd established The Ramsgate Brewery in 2002 to supply the pubs and the people of east Kent with fresh, tasty ale. They restored a derelict seafront restaurant to house the original brewery before it was moved to its current light industrial, premises in 2006.

No 3

Lois and Eddie Gadd established The Ramsgate Brewery in 2002 to supply the pubs and the people of east Kent with fresh, tasty ale. They restored a derelict seafront restaurant to house the original brewery before it was moved to its current light industrial, premises in 2006.

The move allowed for some necessary growth and the development of a locally-recruited (from the Montefiore Arms), home[1]trained team of eight. The business expanded into bottling in 2013, and acquired a leasehold pub in 2014 (the Montefiore Arms), and another in 2017 (the Ravensgate Arms). The pandemic necessitated further changes and a home delivery service covering east Kent rescued the brewery from certain collapse following the closure of all the brewery’s pub customers.

Having achieved the goal of creating a stable business, the directors have turned their focus towards long-term environmental sustainability, and business growth has been deprioritised in favour of a net zero strategy.

GADDS’ No. 3 Kentish Pale Ale was the first beer the brewery produced, way back in 2002. Our aim then was to create a ‘beer for modern Kent’, an easy drinking pale ale, brewed with Kent hops and suitable for serving in both pubs and restaurants.

The recipe itself could hardly be less simple – at the heart of the beer is Marris Otter malted barley, a sweet, biscuity variety of barley developed in the 1960s for its flavour and performance in cask ales. It’s a specialist malt, and although it’s difficult to grow and therefore costs a premium, it is the finest for pale ales. Sadly, the only grower in Kent, based just round the corner from the brewery in Josh Bay, gave up a number of years ago and the Otter we use today is grown in East Anglia.

The unique character of No. 3 is derived from the variety of hops, and the way they’re used. Goldings were developed in the 18th century and, although they were, and still are, grown in many parts of the world, it’s long been recognised that this particular variety flourishes on the brick earths of east Kent, where they’re known as East Kent Goldings, and brewers have long since paid a premium for them. They have a unique, classy balance between sweetness and bitterness and a lemon balm, gently floral, aroma and flavour. Our East Kent Goldings are grown in the Syndale Valley by father-and-daughter team John and Anna Clinch, who last year won gold in the annual hop competition with them. Needless to say, we feel extremely privileged to work so closely with the people who grow the hops that are the very soul of our brewery. This fine balance between sweet, biscuity malt and tangy, bitter hops is fermented into beer by our house yeast strain, known as Mario. Unlike the more traditional yeast strains that impart flavour to beer, Mario is broadly neutral, allowing the malt and the hops to express themselves more freely and clearly, and it’s this that is modern in No. 3. Why pay a premium for your malt and hops only to mask some of the flavour with your yeast?

But don’t let the simplicity of the recipe fool you – there’s decades of combined experience and passion in the technique of producing Gadd’ No. 3 Pale Ale and it’s that, as much as it is the ingredients, that go to make it a beer for modern Kent.