One duty I undertake for CAMRA is to act as Brewery Liaison Officer for my local brewery, which is Larkins of Chiddingstone. Duty is probably the wrong word, as it implies something potentially onerous. It is much more a pleasure to fulfill his role.
For those of you not in the know, Larkins Brewery was founded and is still run by Bob Dockerty and takes its name from the family farm. Larkins beers are full bodied ales brewed entirely from malt and hops, with no added sugar or other adjuncts. They have a real smack of Kentish hops, and are a firm favourite with local drinkers.
Bob has been brewing Larkins beers now for over a quarter of a century. Three regular bitters are produced, starting with the 3.4% Traditional Ale, ranging through to the full-bodied 4.4% Best Bitter. In between is Chiddingstone Bitter at 4.0%. My personal favourite though is Larkins Porter, which is a magnificent, almost black-coloured beer with strong roast coffee and chocolate flavours produced by the liberal amounts of chocolate malt used in the brew. It is only available between November and March, but is well worth tracking down.
Larkins have their own tied pub, the Rock at Chiddingstone Hoath. The Rock with its low beamed ceilings and floor of bare brick is as about as unspolit as pubs get nowadays, and mix this in with a roaring log fire in winter and a pint or two of Porter and one gets pretty close to paradise.
The Rock features on the video clip, but also shown is the Castle in Chiddingstone village - just a stone's throw from the brewery. The Castle is owned by the National Trust, as is much of the village itself, and has one of the few genuine public bars remaining. The Castle's public bar is another excellent place in which to sample Larkins Beers, and the video ends with owner, and brewer, Bob Dockerty enjoying a pint of his beer in the pub.