The Campaign for Real Ale’s (CAMRA) Good Beer Guide editor Roger Protz holds court in an old train-engine shed in the small town of Tunbridge Wells, where the judges have just arrived for West Kent CAMRA’s annual green hop beer competition.
An autumnal tradition in which fresh hops are picked straight from the bine and used to create one-off seasonal beers, green hopping is an historic part of British beer culture. More than 20 breweries have entered this year’s competition, including old hands like Dark Star and fresh, local start-ups like Cellar Head and Pig & Porter.
“I am more enthused by the beer scene in the UK today than I have ever been,” Protz tells his audience. “We’re seeing new and innovative beers being produced all the time, as well as new takes on old traditions such as green hop. It really is fantastic to be a part of.”