Kent Life gears up for Cider and Beer Festivals
Kent Life Heritage Farm Park in Maidstone celebrates these typically Kentish crops with two annual harvest festivals
Kent Life Hops n Harvest Beer Festival - Saturday 7th & Sunday 8th September, from 10am (Kent Life members enjoy free entry).
Kent Life Apple & Cider Fayre - Saturday 5th & Sunday 6th October, from 10am to 5pm
Hops n Harvest Beer Festival
Kent Life's Hops n Harvest Beer festival is a family celebration with the farm's magnificent Oast house at its heart. Festival-goers can experience the last traditional, working coal-fired Oast in Britain in action, where the hops are still dried and cooled by hand today for the festival.
They can also get involved in the hop harvest, fill the bushels, breathe in the heady hop aroma and peek inside the tin Hoppers' Huts. The huts recreate a typical standard of living for the hoppers, whole families of Londoners, who escaped the London pollution every year and migrated to the Garden of England in late August / early September for several weeks.
After a spot of hop harvesting, festival-goers can taste the fruits of the hop and raise a glass of Kent's finest craft beers, brewed by a vast array of Kent brewers including: Brew Buddies, Swanley Village; Gadds' The Ramsgate Brewery; Goody Ales, Herne; Hopdaemon, Sittingbourne; Northdown Brewery, Margate: and Wantsum Brewery, St Nicholas-at-Wade, as well as many more.
There will be live music from an array of local Kentish bands and solo performers featuring on both the Main Stage and the Acoustic stage. Meanwhile, special guest and family favourite Basil Brush will be making a ‘Boom, Boom' in the Big Top and a silent disco in the Vintage Village Hall will entertain younger members of the family.
Apple & Cider Fayre
The Apple & Cider Fayre celebrates the humble Kentish Apple in all its forms, its versatility and the county's dominance as an apple grower. Up to 35 varieties - some dating back to the 1500s - are hand-picked just days before the festival from the Kent Life orchard, affectionately known as ‘the sheep orchard', as it is where the farm's sheep are let graze. They are available to try and buy throughout the weekend.
A complimentary apple recipe sheet featuring some old-fashioned favourites will inspire comforting pudding creations from the weekend's apple stash. Visitors are invited to watch traditional apple pressing where apples are cut, crushed and pulped and then squeezed in the farm's giant Victorian press, resulting in the most delicious, fresh juice.
For cider lovers, the cider tent will host a range of Kentish ciders from local, vibrant craft cider makers such as: Biddenden; Dudda's Tun, Faversham; Kent Cider, Canterbury; and Turner's, Marden. Cider cocktails will also be on the menu to sip and savour, while enjoying live music from local bands. Younger visitors will be able to try their hand at a variety of apple-based crafts.
A family ticket (2+2) is priced at £37.00 for the Hops n Harvest Beer Festival and £32.95 for the Apple & Cider Fayre.
For more information and to book discounted tickets online visit: www.kentlife.org.uk.