Reading Grow Beer 

Reading Grow BeerThe Grow Beer Reading project is part of an artist-led project, The Commons: Re-Enchanting the World at The MERL, The Museum of English Rural Life in Reading this year.

The Grow Beer model challenges the norms of land ownership and labour efficiency, by bringing together a collective to grow hops in unexpected places, such as community gardens on housing estates, parks, allotments and back gardens.

Each year the patchwork of hop farmers collaborate with a local brewer to produce a green hop beer, enjoyed at harvest time.

Founded by Ann Bodkin and Helen Steer, Grow Beer was first tested with Brixton Beer Co in 2011 to explore how to sustain collective action, by nurturing a love of growing hops and supporting regional beer production. So far the project has been adopted by 24 towns and cities across Engliad, Wales, Scotland, Ireland, Germany and France. Find out more on the Grow Beer website.

We kicked off with a ‘Find Out More’ session on Wednesday 26 February kindly hosted by the Castle Tap, where one of Grow Beer’s founders, Ann Bodkin talked about how Grow Beer works and how to get involved. We now have our rhizomes in the ground and are enjoying watching them grow. If you'd like to join in, you can sign up to our mailing list on