Welcome to Grow Beer Sutton, our community hop growing and brewing project!
What is Grow Beer?
Grow Beer is all about delicious, local beer that’s grown, brewed and enjoyed by the community. People across Sutton and beyond are now growing hops in their gardens, allotments and community spaces. In late summer, people harvest their hops at the same time. We will bring these hops together and give them to our brewer who will make us our very own Sutton Beer a few weeks later. Then we drink the results. Simple!
How do I get involved in 2017?
You have until 26 February 2017 to buy a hop plant (see below). Hop plants will not be ready for collection until 11 March 2017 at Wallington Farmers Market or the Farm. Hop plants should be planted straight away after this date.
Interested but not yet decided? Register your interest here.
What does it involve?
All hop growers will receive a pack that includes a hop rhizome from certified UK disease-free stock, three metres of coir hop twine and all they need to prepare a patch of soil: some gravel to improve drainage and well-rotted manure to condition it. Growing support is given throughout the year including instructional videos and resources on our Facebook group.
We organise a hop party in late summer to weigh in our harvest and celebrate. Date TBC so watch this space for more information. Two weeks later we’ll get together and drink our beer! In the meantime, visit our Facebook group for more hop-related facts and information. Hop plants take three years to mature so if they keep donating cones, the beer will keep coming!
Are hops easy to grow?
In a word, yes! Growing hops from a rhizome (root stock) is pretty fool proof and the plant will grow in all sorts of places. We have sister projects in Brixton and Crystal Palace that have had plants survive floods, snow, ice and plain old-fashioned neglect, and there’s been success stories from balconies, gardens, allotments and pots. Even if you kill your plant in the first year (like one poor grower whose garden strimmer got a little too close to the vine), it should grow back next year.
How much beer will there be?
The crucial question! Remember that hops are only a small part of what it costs (both in terms of time and money) to make a batch of beer. Most brewers agree to keep aside one barrel of beer from the brew for the group, meaning that all the growers typically get one or two pints (or more, depending on how quickly you drink!) for free. We will also look to negotiate a cut price deal for growers who want to buy more and open up the party to others to come and buy a local pint.
Don’t forget that hops are a perennial plant (they come back every year) so there’ll be delicious free or cheap beer again and again.
- 26 Feb 2017: Hop pack order deadline.
- Sat 11 Mar 2017: Pick up date for hop packs.
- Wed 16 Mar 2015: This is optional. We will hold a hop planting afternoon on the farm, inviting people to learn how to plant their hops if they need extra guidance.
- Hops Party: We meet in a pub, weigh in our hop harvest and celebrate. Date tbc (Sep/Oct 2016).
- Grow Beer Sutton Party! Two weeks later we get together and drink our beer! Date tbc (Sep/Oct 2016).
Who’s growing hops?
Here’s our map of folks participating in the project so far.
How to order
The deadlines now passed for ordering hops for the 2017 season. Do come back next year though.