Thursday night saw yet another fantastic night of craft beer, food and frolics as James and Andy aka Summer Wine Brewers laid themselves bare to friends old and new during what was yet another top-notch meet the brewer event.
This time we didn’t have to travel to Manchester, London or Edinburgh as they were two stops up the main line in Macclesfield hosted by the good folks at The Treacle Tap, one of a few of Macclesfield’s superb forward thinking drinking establishments.
This is the second event I’ve attended by this mini craft bar chain, tonight organised by Robbie and Neil of Treacle Tap fame, the other was at TT’s sister venue The Young Pretender in Congleton which was as it happens a beer and food tasting night featuring Macclesfields own Toby McKenzie and Red Willow Brewery (you can read that here). Both have been absolutely superb and I tip my proverbial hat to both bars, it’s great to see these things at a local level and a testament to both brewers and organisers that each event was well attended.
The evening started well but was perhaps not the wisest move before a MTB if I’m honest, we took a short walk up the road to The Wharf where I immediately spotted “Soulless”, a black IPA from Red Willow. The first beer of the night when you want to keep your palate fresh, a 7.2 abv black as pitch but hoppy as hell itself IPA, hmmm “wise move beer genius…” But, would I change my mind, of course not Red Willow beers rock and this was no exception.
Moving swiftly on as time was of the essence, we dropped down to The Macc Pub where I faced my second impossible dilemma. On the keg board sat “Strewth“, it’s an Aussie hopped IPA from Summer Wine Brewery and it was smiling at me all coy like. Whispering to my inner beer psyche, calling softly “drink me, drink me”.
The voice of reason in my other ear said “but it’s not called STREWTH for nothing, it’ll rip off your taste buds and leave you with a mouth like an aborigines armpit”
“But what if it’s not on at Treacle Tap” I argued, “I want to try it?”
OK, OK I’ll cut to the chase, I tried some (but then you already knew that didn’t you), it was awesome as I suspected it would be, however it scrape all but the most resilient life out of my shrivelled taste buds and left me gagging for more..
We arrived at the Treacle Tap embarrassingly or fashionably two minutes late, not the end of the world I know but we were last and folks were waiting for beers, (don’t blame us, blame Macc’s great beer scene). No sooner as I’d sat down a glass of “Zenith” was thrust into my hand and the festivities commenced, Andy and James took to the stage (well more of a step really) and started to introduce the beery flock to their fine creations.
Now don’t get me wrong Zenith is a nice session-able pale ale and I’d quite happily go straight to it on a Friday night, but after Strewth, it “paled” in comparison. (sorry, that was pun’ishing)
Now I’m not going to go through blow-by-blow (beer-by-beer) detailed descriptions of the whole beer selection but there were a few new surprises for me at least. “Shackled” for one, which was a pale ale single hopped with Citra if memory serves. This was a one off affair (perhaps not the best choice of word) brewed with friends of the brewers for their wedding, the name “ball and chain’ apparently vetoed.. After this an old favourite “Teleporter” the oldest brew in the SWB range, a delicious porter made with a blend of ten different malts.
Stepping up a gear then with “Gorilla Black IPA“, or (Cascadian Black Ale), now you’re speaking my language. It’s a beast of a beer this one that grabs you with both strong dark hairy arms, pulls you close and gives you a big fat sloppy-hoppy smacker right in the chops.. SHHHWWWWACK! (in layman’s terms, I liked it)
“Cohort” what can I say, I’m a fan, ever since my first taste way back in 2011 at the Newcastle #Twissup I was hooked. It’s a Double Black Belgian Rye-PA, don’t ask me to explain it, what it’s made of, why it’s called what it’s called, nothing because I just don’t know nor do I care. They should have just called it Awesome. If I don’t have a bottle of this tucked away in my beer cupboard there is something wrong, call a doctor, take my temperature and rush me to A&E (no that’s not a beer shop).
Finally to assault my taste buds one last time like hordes of pillaging hop Vikings we have “Maelstrom Double IPA“, in the words of SWB “an unashamedly big bold American style badboy”, fine finishing beer, full on hoppy, think Bugs Bunny on acid..
A massive thanks to the guys from Treacle Tap for organising a superb night of beer and food and of course to James and Andy for travelling down after a long shift to share their obvious passion for what they do.
Words of Wisdom
Now you don’t often get many wise words when visiting Beersay, it’s normally me just rambling on about random shizzle, but today I’m going to give you three.
- Get to a Summer Wine Meet the Brewer night soon, if you’ve been to one before, go again, if it’s too far and you have no money, hitch hike, just go. The beers are going to be excellent that’s a given, but both guys speak with such passion about beer and if there is anyone pushing more brewing boundaries in the UK I’d be absolutely amazed.
- Visit Macclesfield and do the “Macclesfield Triangle”. Don’t bother googling that term for details as they don’t exist, or at least not yet as that’s a post yet to be published. The three points being The Macc, The Wharf and The Treacle Tap. All are within easy walking distance of the train station and less than a mile in total I reckon, great forward beer emporiums all friendly and welcoming. Do it!
- When an opportunity presents itself, grab it with both hands, or one hand if it’s glass or bottle-shaped. If I had listened to the voice of reason, I’d have missed tasting Strewth…