Pilgrim’s Ale Arrives at Christ Church


Pilgrim’s Ale Arrives at Christ Church

Christ Church’s 7th homegrown beer, Pilgrims’ Ale, has arrived!

Here is everything you need to know about it:

The lifecycle of a Christ Church ale starts at the hop gardens currently growing on campus: the main one between Fleming and Moore buildings, and a secondary garden sat atop the bank outside Verena Holmes. The gardens are made of wooden posts, linked with wire, and the hops ‘bines’ grow up and around the posts, blooming in the late summer months. The hops are heritage varieties, consisting of East Kent Goldings, Brambling Cross, Canterbury White Bines and Early Prolific – the latter two unlikely grown anywhere else in the world. These heritage hops connect us to our monastic history of the monks of St. Augustine’s Abbey who brewed beer on this very site.

Then in September, the hops are harvested. This year, staff and externals on the Diamond Jubilee Netwalking event stopped by to lend a hand; then the picked hops were marched down to the Canterbury Brewers and Distillers and blessed by one of our chaplains.

In the spirit of tradition, the branding was aided in the designing process by students and relates back to our heritage in Canterbury. Our previous ales have done the same, for example, Tradescant 400 marking 400 years since John Tradescant is believed to have brought the larch tree to England.

This year, Pilgrims’ Ale calls back to the history of pilgrimages associated with Kent. Canterbury Cathedral has been, and continues to be, a popular pilgrimage destination, even if pilgrimage has changed form for modern times; based less on faith and more on the experience of the journey. The image on the label is even one of the two stained glass windows in the Cathedral depicting the pilgrims.

Pilgrims’ Ale was entered in the Kent Green Hop Beer Awards and came third – making it our first award-winning ale!

It is available for purchase out of Touchdown Café and the Food Court.

By Bethany Climpson, Sustainability Engagement Assistant

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