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Posted: 03 February 2012
Charles Dickens was born on 7th February 1812 and so this year is the 200th anniversary of his birth.
There are strong links between Charles Dickens and Kent – both old and new. He spent much of his childhood in and around Chatham and then came back in later life to live at Gads Hill Place in Higham. More recently the Dickens Experience has opened in Chatham and there is a Dickens Festival every year in Rochester.
So much for the history – there are also a number of references to Kent, beer and brewing in his literature – I mention only a couple here.
For starters in The Pickwick Papers Mr Jingle remarks “Kent sir, everyone knows Kent – apples, cherries, hops and women” – all of these are still important to Kent, but I will only refer to beer which obviously uses hops.
There are of course the mentions of breweries, including Havisham’s Brewery in Great Expectations but alas no mention of Shepherd Neame.
In the Old Curiosity Shop Mr Swiveller states that the servant has never tasted beer since she had only had a sip and it cannot be tasted in a sip – I leave you to make up your own minds about that one.
Then of course from Little Dorrit “It came like magic in a pint bottle. It was not ecstasy but it was comfort”- surely this is referring to beer. It is probably pushing suggestion too far to include “Please sir can I have some more”
So with these links (some slightly tenuous) it seemed only appropriate to brew a commemorative beer. Great Expectations is only available in cask but is truly a beer with lots of hidden depth (not quite like “Dog’s Nose” in The Pickwick Papers) but well worth trying!
Stewart Tricker - Senior Brewer
Great Expectations is available while stocks last at: