Gilt & Flint is an organic craft brewery located at Haye Farm in East Devon, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Run by head brewers, Dan Fitzpatrick and Jason Slade, Gilt & Flint works alongside Harry and Emily Boglione at Haye Farm to produce a range of craft beers using the best local, organic ingredients.
Haye Farm is a mixed organic farm with their arable side growing heritage grains and oats to feed their livestock of sheep, pigs and chickens. They also grow a couple of acres of vegetables and soft fruit. Their aim is to implement sustainable food systems, creating high quality produce that also encourages biodiversity to the farm. Being organic, their system is rotational so everything is continually moving – even their chicken coops are on seasonal relocation. This enhances soil health and prevents issues on the land and environment. In the near future, the farm aims to be completely self-sufficient.
"Pipers Farm’s ethos is great; the marriage between what they are doing with their meat and the environment is something very similar to what we are doing with Gilt & Flint at Haye Farm."
Dan and Jason founded Gilt & Flint in 2017, and work with Haye Farm as much as possible towards a sustainable, circular system. Harry and Emily at Haye Farm harvest their land, the next-door Trill Farm, and the farmland surrounding River Cottage. Much of the heritage barley and heritage wheat they grow on the farmland is used in Gilt & Flint’s brews; barley used mostly, and the wheat to add as a component to special brews. Haye Farm is working towards growing all the grain that is need for Gilt & Flint’s range of beers.
The spent grain from the brewery is used to feed the livestock on at Haye Farm, including the farm’s free-range chickens and rare breeds of pig like their Gloucester Old spot, Oxford sandy and black pigs. By feeding the livestock spent grain, the brewery is reducing their wastage whilst the farm reduces their reliability on inputs. Even the water used in the making of the beer is sourced straight from a spring at the farm. These values of sustainability were the inspiration behind the name, Gilt & Flint, deriving from the farm’s drove of young female pigs called ‘gilts’ and their nod towards their local flint fields of East Devon.
Alongside sourcing the best local, organic grain, Gilt & Flint also likes to add interesting flavourings to their beers. For example, they make a ‘Fennel Pollen Saison’, which has been flavoured with seasonal fennel pollen that has been foraged from in and around Haye Farm.
How is Gilt & Flint beer made?
First, it’s about sourcing the right grain for the type of craft beer you are producing. Gilt & Flint sources the majority of their grain from a local supplier in Warminster Maltings, and as we have heard, they use a portion of heritage barley and wheat grown at Haye Farm.
Take Gilt & Flint’s ‘Organic Pale Ale’. First, they malt the barley, effectively soaking the grain to encourage it to sprout or germinate. The grain is then dried and crushed under controlled conditions. For the ‘Organic Pale Ale’, they use light malt and add in caramel malt, which delivers sweet, caramel flavours.
“During lockdown, we had our head in our hands, basically, and it was Pipers Farm who called us three weeks into it and said ‘we’d really like to supply your beers’. Soon they were ordering cases from us during those really dark times, which helped us enormously.”
During the brewing process, the malted grain is soaked in hot water – imagine in a large kettle – for an hour at 65-70 degrees Celsius. After which, the grain is filtered out and removed. The liquid or the ‘wort’ left is then boiled for a further hour. This stage is when flavourings like organic hops are added. Depending on what flavours and strength of flavour you want to produce in the final beer, the flavourings are added at varying times during this stage. Then, the yeasts are added and the whole mixture is left to ferment. The liquid or wort is then chilled for a few days, carbonated, and then bottled.
Their ‘Organic Pale Ale’ pairs well with strong, savoury flavours like garlic and salt, whilst their ‘Organic Stout’ has recently been popular with Chef Mark Hix who loves to pair the stout with locally caught oysters and seafood.