To mark the launch of the Westerham Brewery’s 100th brew – India Pale Ale, the brewery is to deliver the first casks to the Grasshopper on the Green in Westerham by horse drawn dray. The dray dates from 1886 and is being supplied by Shire Sharabangs of Hurst Green, Surrey. Jacquie Gardiner is the owner of the dray and the shire horse, Hector, who will pull the dray. Robert Wicks, managing director of Westerham Brewery, and the brewer of the 100th gyle, will deliver the first casks of the IPA to Neale and Anne Sadlier at the Grasshopper on the Green at 12.00pm on Tuesday 9th August. It will be possible to taste the new brew in the pub immediately after the delivery.

It is significant that the dray we will be using dates from the late 1880’s. The Black Eagle Brewery in Westerham was so famous for its Pale Ales that the railway from Sevenoaks to Westerham was opened in July 1881 to transport the beer up to London. Taylor Walker of London eventually secured supplies of Westerham Ales by buying a stake in the Black Eagle Brewery after WW2. During the consolidation of the big brewers in the late 1950s and 1960s, the Black Eagle Brewery eventually became part of Ind Coope and was closed in 1965. The yeast from the brewery was deposited by Bill Wickett in 1959 at the National Collection of Yeast Cultures and was recultured in 2004 by the new Westerham Brewery for use in their beers. Using the same water and yeast as the old brewery, the Westerham Brewery has rekindled a 250 year old tradition of brewing in Westerham.

Brewed only with pale ale malt and hopped with WGV and Bramling Cross, this 4.8% golden ale is a rich blend of malt flavours and hops. Unlike many IPAs today, this beer is not a pastiche of the India Pale Ales of yesteryear. There are no coloured malts in the grist and we have pulled no punches with the hops.