Fundamentals #125 — Villages x Little Earth Project Homegrown English Lager

I am writing this at a brand new desk, so fresh out of the flatpack it still smells of freshly sawn wood and musty cardboard. The desk sits in what is now my office, in a house I have lived in for less than a week, and this is the first piece of work I have produced in it since moving house.

It feels weird, unfamiliar, unsettling. But, at the same time. it feels promising, hopeful almost. My old desk was with me through a lot of work I feel immense pride for (and a bit that I don’t) and now I get to see what rewards this new space will relinquish.

My feelings of unease are being settled by a familiar record (Boards of Canada’s mellow 2005 classic The Campfire Headphase) and a deeply reassuring beer; a lager called Homegrown, from Deptford’s Villages Brewery. Produced in collaboration with Suffolk’s Little Earth Project, as its name suggests, Homegrown features all-English ingredients. Remarkably, the barley used comes from Little Earth Project’s own farm and offers up a soft, bready quality – a bit like tearing into a fresh slice of Warburton’s Toastie. UK Cascade and Target hops bring in a spicy, white pepper character, and herbaceous bitterness.

In summary, this beer is really tasty, with a satisfyingly bone-dry finish providing the cherry on top. This makes you want to sip it again and again, until it’s gone, and it’s time to try another beer from the stash. Maybe something special? Or maybe just another comforting can of this lovely lager from Villages.

Change feels an apt topic for this review, because in July 2020 the brothers Village – Archie and Louis, who founded the brewery in 2016 – announced they are stepping down. It’s a sad moment because in Villages, the pair built something special; a genuinely community focussed brewery and taproom, producing delicious yet accessible beer, loved by locals. It’s sad to see them go, but I’m confident the brewery has been left in very good hands.

That’s the thing about change. It’s dead weird, but it’s also totally natural – carte blanche to write the next chapter. I hope that’s as rewarding for Villages as it is for me at this shiny new desk.

Matthew Curtis is a writer, photographer and editor of Pellicle Magazine. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram @totalcurtis and @pelliclemag. Sign up to our All Killer No Filler subscription box and you'll find incredible beers like this one every month, plus more great writing from Matthew and our food writer Claire Bullen.