Five festive things to do in Kent over Christmas

The tree is up, the shopping is done and the mulled wine is on the stove – And for many of us, it is finally time for a well-earned break! But whether you have the whole time off, you are working over the ‘in-between-mass’, or even on the big day itself, there are lots of uniquely Kentish ways to embrace the Christmas spirit this year.

 

Enjoy a pint of Christmas Kentish Ale (or two!) 

Now we are not saying that last-minute Christmas madness has driven you to drink – but is there any better excuse than the festive season to have a tipple or two? (is three too many?) So this year, vanquish the vino, put aside the prosecco and opt for a taste of our local Kentish ale instead. 

man drying hops at larkins brewery
Image Source: Larkins Brewery

Our favourite warming winter beers include (but are definitely not limited to) a Larkins Porter – of course, we love them, they still use a traditional oast house to dry their hops – and Shepherd Neame’s Christmas Ale

 

Embrace some Heritage and History at Leeds Castle’s Christmas at the Castle

Until the 2nd of January the ‘Loveliest Castle’ in the world is well and truly wrapped in Christmas spirit. The theme this year is the ‘12 days of Christmas’ and to celebrate this 12 unique artworks have been placed in prime locations across the estate. Inside, the castle itself will be dressed with beautiful Christmas decor. Christmas at the Castle runs until the 2nd of January.

Leeds castle at night with spotlight
Image source: Leeds Castle

 

Step out for a wonderful wintery walk 

Unsurprisingly the ‘garden of England’ has no shortage of idyllic hikes and stunning scenery. And we all know that the cracking Kent countryside is made even more perfect if you can spot some of our county’s iconic oasts along the way. The best area for oast spotting is probably the High Weald, and luckily this area is also a great option for a wintery wander – and perhaps more importantly there are lots of options for a pint at the end. It is Christmas after all!

Bedgebury Walk in Kent with rivers and frozen areas
Image source: Explore Kent

Don’t be discouraged by the wintery weather, these stunning views are only made better by a crunchy covering of frost. As Billy Connolly says ‘There’s no such thing as bad weather, just the wrong clothing, so get yourself a sexy raincoat and live a little.’

Some of our favorites include this circular walk from Goudhurst and this walk which takes you through the Bedgebury Forest. This is a great option for younger (or young at heart) members of the family as it passes by a Gruffalo trail!

 

Enjoy an Edwardian Christmas at Scotney Castle

Leave 2021 behind (I am sure we all want to do that right now!) and travel back in time to the 1900s to enjoy an Edwardian Christmas. Inside the castle, everything is exactly as the Hussey family (the original residents) would have experienced.

inside photo of a room at scotney castle with open fireplace and christmas tree
Image source: National Trust / Scotney Castle

Meanwhile, outside the castle, Percy the Park Keeper and his friends are encouraging visitors to join them on a winter activity trail around the castle grounds (perfect if you have kids!). Christmas at Scotney Castle runs until the 3rd of January.

 

Visit Santa and his Reindeer at the Reindeer Centre

You need to be quick for this one! Until Christmas Eve Santa and his reindeer have taken up residence at the Reindeer Centre. Children get to meet Santa in his Christmas cabin before taking a walk through his magical grotto. There are then lots of opportunities to feed the reindeer – along with a host of other animals. For obvious reasons – Christmas Eve is a pretty big night for the main man – this only runs until the afternoon of the 24th.

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Five tips for decorating a round room

Fitting conventional furnishings into a circular room – like a converted oast house roundel – can feel a bit like trying to jam a square peg into a round hole. It seems like furniture makers rarely think outside the square box and almost everything is designed to fit against straight walls and 90-degree corners. But while decorating an oast’s curved rooms is never easy, the results are always worth the effort. To get you inspired we’ve put together five tips to get you started:

 

1. Goodbye frames, hello murals

Curved walls and framed pictures are not a match made in heaven. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t adorn your oast roundel walls with exciting artwork. Decorative decals are a great alternative to framed images and they work great on curved surfaces. If you have any artistic talent (or know someone that does) consider painting some unique designs onto the wall yourself. You could give the room a personal twist with a dramatic mural or paint some understated wallpaper-inspired designs. 

Pro tip: If you are still keen to hang some framed art, then go for long narrow frames rather than square ones. Or if you are happy without pictures but feel that your room is still missing something then choose some bold or colourful curtains as a way of adding some drama to the walls. 

2. Add a circular centrepoint

We humans love circles. Numerous scientific studies have found that when it comes to shapes, most people prefer something round. One theory is that while harsh and jagged edges suggest potential danger and therefore invoke feelings of anxiety, our brains find circles relaxing. It also might help explain why an oast house looks so appealing to us! 

Embrace the appealing circular shape of your room by adding a circular focal point. If you are using your roundel as a dining area then add a round dining table in the centre of the room. If this is a seating area then a round coffee table. You can also add round soft furnishings like a circular rug to emphasise the room shape. 

Windmill Villas, website: hostunusual

 

3. Avoid an enclosed feeling by painting the walls a light colour

Small round rooms can sometimes feel a little closed in. Using a light colour scheme to paint your circular walls will enhance their sense of space. 

Contrast is key in design and oast houses often have exposed beams and woodwork. The contrast of woodwork against light colours will provide a calming, rustic effect to your unique home.

 

Image source: Great Higham barn and oast, via Bloomstays.com

 

4. Consider adding some custom-made furniture

As with any curved wall, standard furniture, even curved furniture, is probably never going to be an exact fit – so how about investing in some custom made fitted pieces? Nowadays you can source some amazing pieces from local makers and independent artists that would give your space a meaningful touch – a great way to support local talent and heritage.

Image source: holidaycottages.co.uk

 


5. Add interesting lighting

Lighting can definitely transform how we experience a room, and curved walls offer a great opportunity for some atmospheric lighting. Wall lights are great in a round room, as the wall will pleasantly difuse the light. If you are after a more dramatic effect, a large pendant light hanging from the centre of the room will accentuate the pleasant circular shape of the room.

Image source: Houzz.com

 

Dude & Arnette are the UK’s market leader for oast cowl manufacturing, restoration and repairs. We have been the go-to family business for oast house owners since 1937.

 

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A brief history of Sussex’s oast houses

Hops have been grown in Sussex for around 500 years, meaning that oast houses have been a key feature of the Sussex landscape for half a millennia!

Our nation’s love of beer all started at Sussex’s Winchelsea harbour around the 1400s as the first recorded imports of hopped beer began arriving on British soil. This beer typically came from the Netherlands and Belgium and the flavourful imported beer gradually became the tipple of choice for many, not least because it lasted a lot longer and was often stronger than the local brew.

Image Source: Rye News

Hop growing soon took off across Sussex and Kent and the traditional English ale, which relied on herbs and spices to give it flavour, was mostly replaced by this new hopped beer. The demand for hopped beer only increased in the following centuries and by the 1700s London was regularly producing over a million barrels a year of the much-loved drink. Hop production in Sussex hit its peak during the 19th century, and records show that in 1835 a substantial 11,380 acres of Sussex countryside had been devoted to the growing of hops. And all that hop growing and subsequent drying would have meant a lot of oast house building!

Great Dixter Oast
Image source: Great Dixter

Great Dixter in East Sussex offers visitors a taste of what a traditional working oast house would have felt like. Their renovated 500-year-old Great Barn and its adjoining oast houses offer a glimpse into the county’s past. The current oast house was built in the 1890s – sadly nothing remains of the original oast house – and the dates of the yearly hop drying seasons, from 1892 through to 1938, are still scrawled on the wooden joists.

The majority of oast houses in Sussex are scattered around the High Weald AONB. One of the best ways to explore the area is by bike. The Oasts and Orchards cycle route winds its way through the undulating East Sussex countryside and past the area’s famous oast houses. The bright white cowls are an impressive feature of the landscape and give you a good sense of what this area would have looked like when it was in its hop growing heyday.

Hop growing has declined in Sussex and many of the county’s original oast houses have been converted into homes, businesses and tourist attractions, but hop growing and brewing still remain a quintessential part of Sussex industry. In the past few years numerous microbreweries have popped up across the county and incredibly in 2005, a new hop was discovered growing wild in one of the county’s hedgerows – the aptly named Sussex.

 

Don’t miss our article on the history behind Kent’s oast houses too.

battle oast house sussex restoration

Interested in local traditions and heritage? So are we! 

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Great British Home Restoration Case Study

Hopefully, you caught our recent TV appearance on Channel 4’s new tv series: Great British Home Restoration with Charlie Luxton, but in case you didn’t, you can still see us in action on Channel 4’s catch-up service More4. And for those who share our love for history and heritage, we’ve put together a case study with a bit more insights into the project, which we hope you enjoy. Here it goes:

First, a bit of background

When home restorer Hazel took on the challenge of turning her dilapidated oast house into an idyllic new home, we were lucky enough to be chosen for this incredible challenge.

After decades of living in her large farmhouse, it was time for 79-year-old Hazel and her beloved dog Lucy to downsize. And she had her sights on a new home – literally. Just a stone’s throw from her farmhouse lay a little-used oast house that was a shadow of its former self.

With the support of her friend Glyn and lots of enthusiasm from her builder Stu, Hazel began to restore this little piece of Kent’s heritage.

When host and architectural designer Charlie Luxton arrived at the oast, it was clear that this was going to be a big challenge. The oast house had lost its signature cone-shaped roofs, the 146-year-old brickwork was crumbling and it was far from habitable.

The plan was to strip out the entire interior of the building and add two new floors to the cooling barn – one housing the living and kitchen area, the second a bedroom and office. The roundels would house stairs to the upper floor and a lounge and a spare bedroom.

Great British Home Restoration Oast house
Image source: Channel 4

 

Adding the roof

As the new interior took shape, and it was time to start work on the roundels’ roofs – which thanks to their conical shape is less than straightforward. Enter Dude & Arnette.

The roofs are constructed by adding a ring of cement and sand on top of the roundel and then placing a wooden roof plate on top. This must be completely level to ensure the roof does not lean. A challenge given the old, uneven brickwork.

Once completed, four wooden rafters connected with cross braces are added. On top of this, a wooden ring is placed and then many more rafters are added in to give the roof its iconic conical shape. The cone is then covered with felt and tiled.

Again the cone shape poses a challenge when tiling. Darren and team use traditional handmade Kent peg tiles to tile the new roof. Following the techniques perfected over almost a century in business, the team get to work adding the tiles. They use squares and tapers so that any tiles that begin to drift downhill are swung back into position by the taper. Then every fifth row some cement is added to ensure that once they are in position they are not coming off – regardless of the weather! As Charlie says ‘tiling the exterior of the roof takes great skill and craftsmanship’.

Four weeks later and Darren and builder Stu complete the roof and Hazel’s new home is beginning to resemble its original mid 19th-century self.

 

Creating the cowls

The last stage of the build is to add the oast’s crowning glory, its white pointed cowls. 

Each cowls rests on a long wooden pole that lets it rotate a full 360 degrees. When the wind blows the cowl always has its back to the breeze. This simple and traditional design still works perfectly today. 

Here at Dude & Arnette we still make cowls by hand the traditional way. And that sense of tradition is not only seen in the techniques used, Darren still has his ancestors original toolbag!

Every cowl that comes through the doors of Darren’s workshop have their own tale to tell. A great example is the layer of green paint often discovered while refurbishing old cowls This layer immediately tells the team any cowl they are dealing with is at least 70 years old. During the second world war, cowls were coated in camouflaging green paint to stop them being used as landmarks for the Lufftwaffe.

 

Adding the cowls

The arrival of the cowls is a landmark moment in the restoration. First, a 22-foot rotating pole that the cowl will be fitted onto, is fixed into place. Then comes the nerve-racking part of the process for everyone watching. Cowls can weigh a whopping 220kgs and the ones going on top of Hazel’s roundels needed to be lifted 20 metres into the air. Not only that, but just as the crane arrived the wind picked up (eeeek!).

As Hazel watched in anticipation, one cowl made its way safely onto the roof and placed onto the waiting roundel. Soon followed by the second one.

The final step is to add the bespoke fingers – one with a motif of a dog, to reflect Hazel’s love of dogs and one featuring a cow to represent the farm’s history. Finally, after 50 years the oast house has been returned to its former glory. 

great british home restoration oast house with dude and arnette

To sign off the job, Darren hands Hazel her cowl service book. But this is no boring pile of papers. Based on an old tally stick that would have been used as hop pickers as a way of counting how many bushels had been picked, this piece of wood can now be used to record the history of Hazel’s new cowls.

Now the interior has been completed, Hazel and Lucy are well and truly settled and enjoying life in their wonderful piece of English heritage.

‘Another bit of history saved’

We’re live on Channel 4

If you are fascinated by British heritage and love a good ‘before and after’ transformation you’re in for a treat. Last week Channel 4 launched a brand new series with Charlie Luxton called Great British Home Restoration, a tv programme following couples and families that transform historic buildings into their ultimate dream homes… and guess who’s done one of the restorations? yours truly! Here’s the promo video, can you spot us?

Don’t miss this opportunity to see Dude & Arnette in action simply tune into More4 (Channel4 on demand) on Sunday 1st August, 9pm to watch our episode where we turn an oast house into a dream home!

 

Enjoy an oast house holiday this summer

With international travel still up in the air (or well and truly grounded), there has never been a better time for a staycation. And perhaps the one benefit of lockdown has been discovering the unique gems that are right on our doorstep. You don’t have to travel far to experience some truly unique holidays and if you are looking for a trip with a difference then a stay in an oast house might be just what you are looking for.

There are oast houses aplenty in Kent and Sussex and no shortage of holiday accommodation, but we have picked three potential properties to kick off your holiday home hunt.

Good for couples: Oasthouse Loft, Northium 

Image source: Oasthouse Loft, Northiam Airbnb

Set on farmland amidst rolling countryside this one-bedroom holiday home provides the perfect romantic getaway. Northium is located near the Kent/Sussex border in the High Weald. This medieval landscape is famous for its rolling hills, forests, and, of course, its oast houses. No matter where you walk in this area, it probably won’t be too long before you see an oast cowl rising up from the landscape.

As well as enjoying scenic hikes along the ancient route ways, there is also the option of exploring nearby Great Dixter House and Gardens and Bodium Castle.

Good for pets: Stone Green Oast 

Stone Green Oast holiday
Image source: Stone Green Oast via vrbo.com

Going on holiday needn’t mean leaving behind those furrier family members. With a garden onsite and plenty of countryside and beaches nearby, this is a great option for holidaying hounds – and their owners.

The house is within easy reach of the Cinque Port market town of Tenterden and picturesque Rye.

After all that exploring, you will need a drink. But luckily the property is also a short hop from the Chapel Down vineyard.

Good for luxury: Roserai

Roseari oast house
Image source: Roserai via www.uniquehomestays.com

If lockdown has left you with the urge to splurge on some much-needed R&R, then this might the oast for you. Sat on the edge of the High Weald and within easy reach of the coast, this is in a great location. Not that you would want to go anywhere. Because this really is the oast with the most.

This grade II listed roundel house has been immaculately restored, both inside and out and its grounds include a heated swimming pool and a boating lake.

Roserai oast house
Image source: Roserai via www.uniquehomestays.com

 

Would you like to know more about oast houses? Here are some useful articles to get you started!

What is an oast cowl?

Oast cowls are the distinctive chimneys you can see crowning traditional (and modern) oast houses. Back in the day, they provided a source of ventilation (as part of the brewing process while hops dried) and protected the kiln from the temperamental British weather.

As fourth-generation oast cowl specialists, we hand-made and repair oast cowls to support the conservation of these iconic architectural features of British heritage.

oast cowl and oast houses dude and arnette

If you are interested in what is an oast house used for, our blog is packed with oast curiosities and maintenance recommendations.

 

Oast cowl designs

Oast cowls are as unique as their owners. You’ll find there are a number of different oast cowl styles across the UK and that in most cases, cowls are also decorated with a motif. To find out more about the meaning behind oast cowl motifs, please read our Oast Cowl Motifs: More Than Just Decorations blog post.

 

Wooden cowls and fibreglass cowls

As professional oast cowl refurbishers, the word fibreglass (or GRP) often gives us the chills. They rot easily, they develop fungi, and well, they are just not as durable as traditional timber cowls. We can help you refurbish them if you already have one, but we don’t recommend installing them new. Wooden cowls, on the other hand, offer a better long-term investment and with our perfected craft skills, you’ll always be in safe hands.

dude and arnette repairing oast cowls.  oast cowl motif

About Dude & Arnette

Since we started in 1937, Dude and Arnette have restored hundreds of cowls around the UK, including the famous Hop Farm Family Park in Kent, the world’s largest collection of Victorian oast houses. Today, the majority of our happy clientele are homeowners, and we know how much people love living in converted oast buildings. They remain a wonderful part of our British heritage – and we’re committed to making sure that they are here for generations to come.

Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter to see our crafty work in action.

Six of Kent’s Best Beer Gardens

Fancy a pint? That’s a question you probably haven’t heard for some time, but come the 12th of April pubs across England will be opening up their beer gardens and offering their customers much-needed drink. And after the year we have just had, most of us could do with one!

Unsurprisingly, the county famous for its hops has no shortage of fantastic pubs, but if you are struggling to choose, here are six great options for a pint in the spring sun.

(If the last year has proved anything, it is that even the best-laid plans can go a little awry, so pro-tip: double-check the pub’s website or social media before travelling to avoid disappointment).

The Bull Inn, Linton

aerial photo of the bull inn pub
Image: The Bull Inn Facebook 

This traditional Kentish Inn – very traditional, it has been here since 1674 – serves a range of cask and keg ales from local brewer Shepherd Neame. The pub features a large beer garden and patio, which is due to open from the 12th of April. The pub isn’t taking bookings so just turn up and take a seat.
More info: http://www.thebullatlinton.co.uk/

 

The Halfway House, Brenchley

view of the garden halfway pub kent
Image: The Halfway House Facebook

The Halfway pub is famous for their great quality ales straight from the barrel and their lively, festival-like beer garden. They offer a selection of 10 different beers available every day as well as delicious, traditional pub food. To celebrate the end of Lockdown they will be offering 2 Halfway House new beers that they have spent the last few months developing and perfecting with 2 local breweries. You will only be able to get these there!
More info: https://www.halfwayhousebrenchley.co.uk/ 

 

The Vineyard, Tunbridge Wells

The vineyard pub tunbridge wells
Image: The Vineyard Facebook

We often talk about the role the beer brewers have had in shaping Kentish heritage – after all it was the beer industry that gave us oast houses. But Kent is becoming increasingly famous for its wine. This aptly named pub has an extensive terrace, which overlooks the Lamberhurst vineyards. If you fancy swapping grain for grape they, as you would expect, have a great range of English wines on the menu. Their outdoor space is set to reopen on the 12th of April.
More info: https://elitepubs.com/the-vineyard/ 

 

The Three Chimneys, Biddenden

The three chimneys pub
Image: The Three Chimneys Facebook

Enjoy a drive through idyllic Kent country lanes to arrive at The Three Chimneys pub where mouth-watering food and local ales will be waiting for you. The Three Chimneys is an award-winning, 15th Century traditional Kentish pub serving exceptional foods and beers locally sourced reflecting the seasons. Apart from a relaxing location and seasonal menu, you can also spend some quiet time there, enjoying their charming accommodation.

Historical Curiosity: Their name, The Three Chimneys, comes from the Seven Years’ War in the 18th Century where French prisoners were kept at nearby Sissinghurst Castle. When the prisoners were placed on parole, they were allowed out as far as the pub building. At the time, locals referred to this as the ‘Three Wents’ (or three ways) but the prisoners called it Les Trois Chemins (the three chimneys). The unique name of the pub derives from the French term for the junction of three roads.

Their garden and terrace will be opening on Monday 12th April 12-6pm (weather dependant). 
More info: http://thethreechimneys.co.uk/

 

The Griffin Inn, Fletching

The Griffin Inn Pub
Image: The Griffin Inn FacebookThe Griffin Inn, Fletching

In a privileged location with incredible views, The Griffin is popular amongst locals for its Serengeti Garden – a 2 acre garden with views of the South Downs and the famous National Trust Gardens of Sheffield Park. However, that’s not the only charming thing about this award-winning 16th-century country inn. The Griffin also accommodates guests with 13 individually-designed bedrooms overlooking the Ouse Valley, as well as providing locally sourced produce.
More info: https://thegriffininn.co.uk/ 

 

The Belle Vue Tavern, Ramsgate

Belle Vue Pub view
Image: The Belle Vue Facebook

After a year of no fancy foreign holidays, a day at the beach is long overdue. With a huge patio that offers some truly spectacular views over The Channel, a drink on the Belle Vue’s Balcony of Kent terrace will soon help you rediscover that holiday feeling.

The pub’s outdoor area is set to open from the 12th of April (weather permitting) and they do not take bookings.
More info: https://www.thebellevuetavern.co.uk/ 

 

Interested in Kent life, history and culture? So are we! 

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Bespoke outdoor sitting project: A cowl seat

Did you know we also do bespoke features? That’s right. Every so often we get requests from clients to build something unique for them and it’s always great fun. This, not only allows us to put our tried-and-tested skills to good use but also to flex our creative muscles to bring ideas to life.

First things first

When Russel C. approached us to do some work on their estate, we packed our van and headed over to assess the work that was needed. They had heard of us working on some other oast houses and they were keen to get in touch. We firstly worked on building fresh new oast cowls and also carried out some roof repairs to ensure all the roofs are set and ready for the upcoming autumn and winter months.

But there was one last request. We got chatting, as we do, and the conversation then led on to creating something new… and the idea for a cowl seat was born!

A seat with a twist

But what’s special about this artefact? Well, it’s something we’ve always wanted to do, but most importantly – it’s something that has never been done before to such high standards.

The base of the chair was made out of steel at Laddingford engineering. The oast cowl was made out of wood, using our perfected, oast cowl construction methods, and then we fibreglassed it over the outside. Want to see the end result? Here are some snaps! Needless to say, our client was over the moon with his new cowl seat – the perfect place to read a book, or to enjoy a good cuppa!

Best warming winter beers from Kent

The clocks have gone back, the mercury has plummeted and those long summer evenings are nothing more than a memory – in other words, it’s beginning to look a lot like winter! This year, give the mulled wine a miss and say hello to the festive season with our county’s traditional tipple.

As you would expect from the land of oast houses and hops, we have no shortage of great local breweries right on our doorstep. But with so much choice, deciding what to try first can be tricky. So, here are five great winter beers to get you started.

 

Snow Top

photo of old dairy beer and crops
Image Source: Old Dairy Instagram

Brewery: Old Dairy
Location: Tenterden – Kent
Alcohol by volume: 6%

Old Dairy have brewed the perfect ‘winter warmer’ – if they do say so themselves – with their award-winning Snow Top beer. This rich, dark delight is packed with the taste of Christmas; it is full of fruitcake and marmalade flavours and topped off with some spicy notes.

 

Godswallop Winter Ale

Brewery: Westerham
Location: Westerham – Kent
Alcohol by volume: 4%

Making full use of the local crop are Westerham with their Godswallop Winter Ale. Six Kent hops combine with pale ale, dark crystal and chocolate malts to create a traditional ale style beer that is both complex and comforting. This slightly sweet, smooth caramel, gentle hoppy traditional old winter ale will keep your mood up as the temperature drops. Oh! and making the most of the season, Westerham have also launched an awesome 2020 Beer Advent Calendar featuring a mixed case of 12 different beers – because a beer a day keeps…. your problems away?

 

Porter

a pint glass of larkins porter ale in a pub
Image Source: Larkins Brewery

Brewery: Larkins
Location: Chiddingstone – Kent
Alcohol by volume: 5.2%

Is there anything more quintessentially Kentish than oast houses and crop fields? Local brewery Larkins still produce their real Kentish ales in a traditional oast house, which we love – obviously! Included in Roger Protz’s acclaimed guide, ‘300 Beers to Try Before You Die’, the award-winning Larkins’ Porter is the perfect choice for those long dark evenings, with a deep, rich and warming taste.  

A curiosity about The Larkins Oast House – it was built in 1935 but bombed by a V2 rocket in 1945 and then rebuilt in 1948. It has a kiln, a drying room, cooling and pressing machinery for the traditional processing of hops from drying, preserving to storing. Using traditional tools and methods they ensure their characteristic Larkins quality and flavour!

man drying hops at larkins brewery
Image Source: Larkins Brewery

 

Christmas Jumper Ale

mad cat brewery christmas ale label
Image Source: Mad Cat Brewery

Brewery: Mad Cat
Location: Faversham
Alcohol by volume: 4.4%

Based at Brogdale Farm in Faversham and set up by father and son in 2012, the Mad Cat Brewery is a micro-brewery providing fresh and quality craft ales. They have very quick turnarounds – they can pick and have the hops brewed in under 12 hours for its beers – but when it comes to seasonal beers, they only release a small number of batches, so you have to keep an eye not to miss them! Every year they release a Christmas-themed ale featuring their famous creative cat designs and for this year they’ve launched the delicious Christmas Jumper Ale which promises to be rich, nutty and decidedly festive!

Christmas Ale

close up image of shepherd neame christmas beer
Image Source: Shepherd Neame

Brewery: Shepherd Neame
Location: Faversham – Kent
Alcohol by volume: 7%

A winter beer often means a stronger beer. Of course, it’s not hard to see why cold weather would make a stronger drink more appealing – nothing seems to heat you up more than shot of the hard stuff. But there is another reason these beers are a pinch more potent than their counterparts. Traditionally, winter beers were usually brewed during the harvest and the season of plenty probably encouraged brewers to be a little more bountiful with the malts, meaning a higher alcohol content. When it comes to alcohol proof, Shepherd Neame’s Christmas Ale beer packs a punch.

Shepherd Neame’s Christmas Ale beer is brewed using mineral water from their own well. This Christmassy concoction combines notes of fruits and spices and is packed full of some great local crops. The beer itself is delightfully packed with a Dickensian style label and a traditional pump lid.

Enjoyed our roundup of Christmas beers? Why not following us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram to keep up with all Dude & Arnette’s updates