Westerham - Proud Tradition
Established in 2004 by Robert Wicks, the Westerham Brewery Company is proud to bring brewing back to the historic town of Westerham. With a rich brewing heritage, Westerham can once again be proud of locally brewed, top quality real ales.
Producing exceptional craft beer for the local market, Westerham Brewery support the initiative to reduce food miles in the supply chain. Many ‘national brands’ are transported long distances and suffer from poor storage and handling.
Westerham Brewery Company has revived many of the much-loved flavours of the old Black Eagle Brewery, which closed in 1965 following the catastrophic consolidation by the ‘Big Brewers’ in the 1950’s.
The local water, which percolates through the Lower Greensand Ridge to the North of Westerham, is excellent for brewing pale bitter beers for which Westerham was once famous. The Vale of Holmesdale has over the years supported many breweries on account of the water, including at one time two breweries in Westerham, the Swan and the Black Eagle. Westerham Brewery have their own borehole 90m drilled down into the Hythe beds of the Lower Greensand.
Westerham Brewery use only the finest English winter malting barley. Their malts are supplied by Crisp Malting of Fakenham in Norfolk and their coloured malts are produced by French and Jupps of Ware in Hertfordshire. Westerham Brewery beers contain up to seven different malts to produce a wide range of beer styles and colours.
Westerham Brewery are mad about hops, specifically Kent hops. They say, “Why be a small brewery in Kent and not use the wonderful hops grown by our valiant hop growers”. They have developed a particularly close working relationship with Ian Strang, who farms the Scotney Castle Estate in Lamberhurst and the Finchcocks’ hop gardens in Goudhurst. 96% of the hops they use are grown in Kent and they use 9 different Kent hops in the Spirit of Kent. Their suppliers are Lupofresh (Finchcocks’ and AC Hulme), Botanix (Scotney) and Charles Faram (Non Kent hops).
Westerham Brewery have re-cultured the yeast from the Black Eagle Brewery. After the takeover first by Taylor Walker in 1948 and the subsequent takeover of Taylor Walker by Ind Coope in 1959, the head brewer deposited freeze dried samples of their yeasts with the National Collection of Yeast Cultures, no doubt sensing that it might be lost forever. Now, 50 years later, they have revived these yeast cultures. Westerham Brewery has acquired the sole rights to these yeast strains from Carlsberg UK.
With water from the same aquifer that served the old brewery, the same yeast strains and some of the old recipes, Westerham Brewery hope to capture the essence of what made Westerham’s ales famous.
Westerham have won a plethora of awards and accolades for their beers over the years, far too many to list here but you can find out more by visiting their website www.westerhambrewery.co.uk