RICH IN PASSION & EXPERIENCE
You won’t find many people more enthusiastic and knowledgeable about hops than Richard. Nor will you find many
Monkey Sheds. Being the fifth generation of hop growers in Herefordshire, Richard’s passion and interest in hops are part of his DNA. Helping his father in the kilns, drying and pressing the hops since he could walk, he fondly remembers “the wonderful aroma lingering in the air”, the hustle and bustle of the extra helpers employed during harvest time and the excitement and anticipation of a new harvest each year.
Starting with 12 acres made up of Fuggles and Goldings the farm grew to 20 acres and the varieties of Northdown and Challanger were added. It hasn’t always been easy though. In the late 80s and early 90s ‘Hop Wilt’ affected the roots of several popular varieties. Many growers saw no future and were forced to leave the industry and diversify. Not Richard. Determined to keep growing hops and with persistent dedication he planted a range of hops – Target, WGV, Goldings and Pilgrim – that were known to be resistant to wilt.
In 2010 Richard took on the hops at Stoke Edith in Herefordshire and replanted the empty wire work. 2016 saw the purchase of bare land at Eastwood, Tarrington which was quickly turned into a new hop yard. Today Richard nurtures over 60 acres of hops, growing Bramling Cross, Goldings, Pilgrim, Jester and Harlequin.
AN EXTRAORDINARY BREWING TEAM
What followed is recent history. A new building, THE MONKEY SHED (named after the tool used to string the hop yard ‘The Monkey Pole’) was erected in 2018. Brewing equipment was purchased in 2019 and, with its own well of spring water, it was all ready to go. It was here, during the first lockdown in 2020, where a dream lasting ten years became reality.
Together with Julie’s attention to detail and Trevor’s 50 years of brewing know-how, the fifth generation of hop growers in the Phillips’ family launched their first local artisan lager named: LOCKDOWN IPA. “It was Boxing Day 2019 at The Brewery Pub in Ledbury that I met Trevor and Julie Newman. I couldn’t believe my luck”. Trevor is a brewer with huge experience, having brewed in Kent for many years as well as in Belgium. He has brewed millions of pints of Stella for InBev. His wife, Julie worked in breweries in Kent before moving towards Herefordshire when working in quality control for Whitbread, based in Gloucester.
“What a fantastic team they are. Julie and Trevor have taught me so much. They have brought their passion and vast expertise for brewing quality beer and joined my passion for growing quality hops. I will drink to that!”