We were lucky enough to be invited to a tour of the Lymestone Brewery in Stone last night and boy was it was something special. Why you may ask, if you’ve seen one micro brewery you’ve seen them all?
Well it was all about the P’s, no not the Bees although they do feature, I’m talking about Pride, Passion and People.
The event was organised by the owners of local artisan food delicatessen, Brown & Green and by invitation I think totally through Twitter. Open though to anyone following them and who enjoys and embraces what they are trying to do. (Susie may put me right on that).
To tell you the little I learned on the journey to Lymeston, Brown and Green started as an add on to an existing Strawberry farm in Gloucester. Owners Susie and Euan wanted a small outlet in which to sell their produce, also to support other local producers in the immediate area. A small area was leased in a local garden centre and was very successful. From then they were encouraged to take a leap of faith and open another much larger store of their own on the Trentham Gardens estate, which then expanded to yet one more in the Derby area. All operating with the same ethos, of getting fantastic local produce available in one place. Enter Lymestone Brewery as a producer of local ethical ales..
Ian (Brad) Bradford is a brewer and he loves it, you can tell by watching him and listening to him speak. He was head brewer at another local brewery Titanic for some 18 years before he too took the leap of faith and decided along with wife Viv that he wanted a brewery of his own, where he made the decisions and succeeded or failed by them. So in July 2008 Lymestone Brewery was born.
On arrival at the brewery we were met enthusiastically by Brad and Viv and urged quickly to go straight into the bar room where three beers were on tap for us to try, Stone Faced, Stone Cutter and Lymestone Cowboy which was my personal favourite on the night. No service here (no complaints either), it was “there’s your glasses”, “there’s the pumps”, “get stuck in”!!
Now for anyone who has ever beer to an event where Twitter has played a major part, it was one of those awfully embarrassing periods in the beginning, where you realise that “I know that person”, but arrghhh I only know their Twitter name so you have to introduce yourself as @filrd etc as you are mingling. The beer helped particularly well at this stage….
First drink sorted, pleasantries exchanged and the evening began in earnest where sat in the cavernous brewhouse Euan was bravely nominated by Susie, to thank us for attending and tell us a little about who they were, what they are doing and their hopes for the future. He also explained how people like Brad & Viv and even the folks in attendance all play a significant part in them realising their dream for Brown and Green.
Up step Brad and Viv, who in similarly passionate style detail how and why they set up Lymestone, their story, the history of the brewery in this location dating back to 1889, what they hope to achieve and how both parties interact to realise similar ambitions by helping eachother. We were then treated to I would say the most detailed and heartfelt explanation of brewing I’ve had in my experience, Brad & Viv as I said earlier clearly love what they do and that really comes across as you watch them speak, there’s just an excited buzz about the whole thing. Second Drink Break.. 🙂
Second session was in the brewing room, where as you’d expect it was explained how everything works, timings, volumes etc. I won’t witter on about this too much except to say that you really should visit yourself to experience it, great people, loads of knowledge delivered in a fun and enjoyable style.
Tour over, questions asked but that wasn’t the end, next was another top up of course and then foodie heaven, a buffet of fantastic local foodie treats from Brown and Green had been laid on for us all .
Uber tasty morsels including Shropshire Blue and Aged Red Lecester cheeses, firecracker and venison salami, Hand made pork and chicken pies, scotch eggs, the biggest and the biggest, tastiest hand made sausage rolls you’ve ever seen to name but a few..
As you can probably imagine a good night was had by all and sadly long after our transport was due we said farewell to Lymestone.
Just to close, taking aside the generosity and hospitality of our hosts that is clearly evident and going back to the P’s, It was a real privilege and a true pleasure to spend a particularly pleasant evening with people positively passionate about their products..
A big thanks to Euan, Susie, Brad, Viv and Jules for a superb evening, great to meet you and everyone else that attended, here’s to the next, Cheers
P.S I’ve just realised that I mentioned Bees earlier in this post, that is because Lymestone has it’s very own apiary on the brewery’s roof consisting of 5 hives. From this Brad has created a honey beer called Stone Brood, made with Lymestone’s very own honey. I’ve bought a couple of bottles to try, they are available though at Brown & Green so go get some before they buzz off…
Stone Brood 4.4% ABV
Up on the roof of the Lymestone Brewery, the Lymestone bees have been busy making the sweetest honey from local fields and gardens. Literally stung into action, Brad the Brewer has created this rich, dark beer from the Lymestone bees honey and the finest chocolate malt. Velvety chocolate gives way to a balanced bittersweet finish. Easy drinking and very moreish.
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