Monday, January 19, 2009

East Kent Gold

On those rare occasions when I get to the UK my beer priority is to try whatever local brews I can get my hands on, as I did when I was in Oxford last October. As I have no doubt mentioned, my eldest brother lives in Kent – the garden of England, and famed for its hops, so I guess the beer there has an advantage. I have enjoyed many a pint of Shepherd Neame’s various offerings, thus I decided it was time to discover some of the smaller independent brewers that call Kent home.

Thankfully, the Sainsbury's in Ashford, and a small shop called Macknade Fine Foods, both stock locally made ales, and so I got my hands on some bottles from the Ramsgate Brewery (their website is under construction).

The Ramsgate Brewery sell their beers under the brand name Gadds'. From their range I had the No. 3 and Faithful Dogbolter, both of which are bottle conditioned. The No. 3 is a strong pale ale, with an ABV of 5% that pours a light amber with a rocky white head and a fair amount of fizz. Admittedly the picture isn’t great, as mobile pictures are wont to be. The nose was rather citrusy, but also very spicy, with slight floral notes, as you would expect from East Kent Goldings and Fuggles. Beneath the vibrant bitterness of the beer is a very gentle toffee sweetness, which smoothes out the beer, making it is deliciously refreshing.

Faithful Dogbolter is a dark porter, with an ABV of 5.6%, that is a beautiful ruby colour and has a slightly beige head which disappeared rather quickly. I had a slight stuffy nose and couldn’t detect much at all when I tried to smell the beer, perhaps a touch roasty, but little beyond that. Taste wise though this was quite simply lovely, velvety coffee laced with milk chocolate – like a Galaxy bar from when I was a kid. Like the No. 3, the bitterness of this beer is held in balance with sweet smoothness of the finish. A really lovely beer.

If these beers are representative of the entire Ramsgate Brewery range, I look forward to the day when I get back to Kent and can try these again, as well as try the other beers these guys make.


  1. The Gadds beers are great, I definitely recommend them. Macknades is a good little shop for picking up beers - I'm from Kent and manage to get a large range of Kentish beers from there (Nelson's, Hopdaemon, Westerham, Whitstable, Gadds). Also, next time you are over search out the Curious Brew beers from the Chapel Down winemakers - they are also excellent!

  2. I also got hold of some Hopdaemon and Nelson's stuff, posts to come tomorrow and Wednesday.

  3. Excellent, I look forward to them. I visited the Nelson brewery a short while ago, it's a tiny little unit in the Historic Dockyard at Chatham. I'm a big fan of Hopdaemon, particularly Skrimshander.

  4. Is this a resurrection of the old Firkin brewpubs Dogbolter?

  5. dont you love beer-hunting: picking up those new beers taking thier first steps and finding yet another Gem. A true upside of loving beer (of which there are many)


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