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Flowering stage coming to an end as cones form.

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March Newsletter

The last surviving hop ground in Hampshire

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Hoppers Christmas Party

The Jolly Sailor, West Street, Farnham

Don’t miss our Hoppers Christmas party at the Jolly Sailor pub, 7.30pm start on Friday 21st Dec.

We’ve got a big surprise: Joe Wood, who we met at our Green Beerfest, has brewed a super dark ale named PDA. Well, you can guess, can’t you? I’m told it has flavours well matched to the festive season. 

Our Hoppers cask will be set up mid week and Ian has offered to serve the beer in jugs from the backyard. Joe will bring a variety of small containers so we can draw off all the beer at the end of the evening. 

For that extra special pressie why not buy some 500ml bottles of conditioned PDA @ £3 per bottle on the evening or you can order for collection. Contact Joe by email:, or by SMS/Phone on 0777 498 2174 or visit

2018 Green Beerfest at Daniel Hall

Just to remind you…………….

Come along and celebrate our 2018 hop season at Daniel Hall Scout Hut on Friday 26th October, starting at 7.00pm. An evening to meet other Hoppers and taste the beers made with our Prima Donna green hop. I hear they are very good – again!

As we had two harvests, there will be two casks of beer this year, each produced by a different craft brewer. Joe Wood has added our hops to Frensham Brewery’s “Soul” and John Mintram to his “Horsell Gold”. Look up their websites for a description of the beers: and Two casks is a lot of beer, so bring along some plastic screw top containers so you can enjoy the beer at home. It’s okay to bring a guest, especially if they’re interested in joining FH, but in fairness we should limit that to one guest per member, please.

During the evening Joe will talk to us about Frensham Brewery: how a small craft micro-brewery came to be set up on Pierrepont Farm and how he envisages the way forward for the enterprise. 

Is this a first? Prima Donna dried hops used by craft micro brewery.

A local brewery to the south of Farnham has used last years dried hops to produce a fabulous ale!


Mark and Paul set up their micro brewery at the Duke of Cambridge in Tilford village and went into production this February.  Tilford Brewery used 2 kilos of Prima Donna to produce this wonderful hoppy beer.  The beer has been distributed in firkins around the Red Mist group of pubs local to the Surrey Hampshire borders.

Our FH secretary, Chris hunt, learnt about this new brewery through his CAMRA connections and suggested we offered them some dried hops as they were keen to be involved in a community project. It all worked out very well, the hops proved of good quality and the brew was designed to boost the hoppy taste. This is probably the first community-grown beer made using local dried hops: an exciting experiment and a big extension of the range of social hops!

A party of Farnham Hoppers were invited to taste the beer on 11th October at the brewery. Mark and Paul were our generous hosts plying us with pints of Prima Donna, they talked us through the ideas behind the recipe and then sat us down for a delicious feast of snacks. I’m afraid that those of you who didn’t come missed a real treat!

Tilford Brewery Founders: Mark Collins (left) and Paul Griffiths
Tilford Brewery Founders: Mark Collins (left) and Paul Griffiths

There is a full press post on our facebook group site, see side bar for link.


2017 brew creates outstanding beer

A cracking 2017 brew! Great beer from our green hops this year.


Despite being a difficult year growing our Prima Donna and a fall in yields due to ravages of DM we succeeded in producing 15 kilos of “wet” hops. A simplified collective harvest worked well and the green hops arrived in good condition at Little Beer Corp, Jim’s micro-brewery in Guildford.

This is Jim’s account of his first taste of the beer, a few days after the brewing on the 11th September: “The brew went very well indeed and the beer smelt wonderful with all the fresh hops in. We have used them with Little Tenderness, our 4.5 Amber. Recipe wise, we used Maris Otter, Crystal 240 and Munich Malts to create a rich full flavour caramel backbone to the beer, then we used Centennial and Cascade for the bittering hops whilst we used the Green Prima Donna hops you’ve supplied as an aroma hop at the end. We let the beer sit on the green hops, for about half an hour, to get the best out of them.”

The beer is now bottled and casked. The first public tasting was available at the Farnham Food and Drink Festival in Castle St on 30th September. The 35 pint cask was sold out in under the hour, arriving midday I missed out completely!

Now for the downside! Growing hops is not all plain sailing!

The following pics show a tale of hope, promise and collapse: the villain in the piece is the Darth Vader of the hop grower: Downey Mildew. This little fungal pathogen is, like so many of nature’s “bad guys”, not so dumb as to completely kill off its host, but it certainly can finish off your crop. The pics tell the tale.


What can we do? Growing hops organically in the UK has become a lot more challenging now that EU has proscribed Bordeaux Mixture.

Some German chemists are developing a modified from of BM with reduced copper content and Monsanto have their Bt technology, which is a genetically engineered “organic product” (latest research suggests that Bt toxins have unwanted side effects). There are other ways to mitigate the impact of Downey Mildew which our garden growing system allows us to trial experimentally. These options we’ll be exploring further in our Hop Calendar notes on this website.

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