RedWillow Brewery and Shapeless IPA #Twissupdate 6

LogoNo Twissup would be complete without a brewery visit, it’s the law!

As it happens we are in luck as this one has a brewery too and a bloody good one at that in RedWillow, owned and run by husband and wife team Toby and Caroline Mckenzie, both of whom have been amazingly supportive in getting #Isosceles to where it is today.

Toby-McKenzie1-199x300Toby was one of the first people I asked for advice and support when starting to plan this beery escapade and he was up for it from the start. Brewery visit aside, he and Caroline have been a wealth of info and acted as go betweens on more than one occasion when things have threatened to to go tits up. So I’ll offer them both a massive thank you right here and now.

I’ll be gobsmacked if you are coming to the Twissup on June 29th and you’ve never tasted any of Toby’s beers, but just in case you’ve been locked away for a while, expect hops by the lorry load, crazy flavour concoctions made using real, fresh base ingredients (not a syrup in sight in this gaff) all bound together by a whirlwind of passion and enthusiasm.

0a747baf-68b3-4f21-bf54-815aae5ba18dTalking of which brings me to the details of yet another Isosceles exclusive, another new beer brewed to be launched on the Twissup at the brewery itself, “Shapeless”. Collaboratively brewed with Michelle Kelsall of OffBeat Brewery who is also hoping to be with us on the day.

Shapeless is a continuously hopped IPA, hopped every five minutes throughout a 60 minute brew with Simcoe, Chinook, Centennial, Columbus and Citra and was said to a real taste bud ripper in its early stages. Since then it has had another blast through the RedWillow hop rocket with (if I remember correctly), Citra, Simcoe and Centennial.¬†I’m not sure on the abv yet but Toby reliably informs me that it is tasting amazingly well so far.

1005584_10151473650023479_21125648_nThe plan hopefully is to serve it side by side on keg and cask to give folks the chance to compare and discuss the relative merits of both, or maybe (hopefully) not discuss it that much and just bloody enjoy it? ūüėČ

1001789_10152913496465375_3979293_nIn terms of other beers potentially on the sampling list at the brewery, we are also hoping to see Witless 3 (which I tried last night and is most definitely the best Witless so far) and if it’s ready, a fresh incarnation of Faithless Gin & Tonic Saison. Which was very recently brewed as another collaboration with Brian of Bitches Brewing¬†using shitloads of juniper berries among other things

Definitely another to look out for as the last version was one of my favourite saisons of last year, with this one set to topple it’s predecessor on the flavour front.

In other RedWillow Brewery visit news, on the food front expect further foodie treats of pulled pork made using RedWillow beer in the marinade, pork fed on RedWillow spent grain, served on rolls using RedWillow yeast. That’s if you’ve room left after grabbing your breakfast pie at the Treacle Tap.

Finally, by way of making your beer experience during your visit a special one, I need to give a massive thank you to Claudia and the guys of Port Street Beer House and IndyMan Beer Con for kindly donating the use of their mini (portable) two keg draught line for the day, which makes life so much easier for Toby and co at the brewery.

Brewery tours will be available and subject to numbers staggered throughout the visit.

We expect to arrive at Red Willow at roughly 1PM and will be there until between 3-3:30PM to give the next venue a chance to serve folks with minimum delays.

So, the stage is set and the line up complete, look out for the itinerary over the next couple of days. We are all ready to rumble, all we need now is to hope for good weather and lots of loverly people, in other words, YOU!

This is set to be a great afternoon of beer, be there or regret it later…


#TheSession 61 – Down My Local

This months tenure of #TheSession sits with the Hoosier Beer Geek. He asks us to talk about local beer, why is local beer important, specifically what if anything makes it better?

Anything for me is better if it has a local connection so that’s a good start. In other areas of my life personally when considering purchases local means a great deal, I love locally produce and will pay over the odds to get it. It’s fresher and just feels better if you know the area or even the producer who made the product.

In complete contrast, living in The Potteries I recall trying to by a locally produced dinner service, nothing fancy you understand just day-to-day eating ware. The only pre requisite¬†being that it had to have been manufactured¬†in Staffordshire or at least England. You would not believe how difficult that was…¬†So how do those ideals/examples translate in the beer world, well in my case at least unnervingly close as it happens.

Local people reading my blog of late could be forgiven for thinking that I’m pretty anti local. After all I’m always harping on about “craft this and fancy foreign import that”, “local pubs are boring, where’s the exciting new beer on keg” etc etc etc.. In truth some of that may be true, as I love trying new beers in what ever guise they present themselves, but that goes for local too.

Most folk I suspect have a local brewery be that large or small, that churns out a bog standard “easy drinking” range aimed at the mass market one beer session drinker and it’s all too easy to dismiss one of these beer brands based on a bad experience. I am a firm believer though that most of them if not all have at least one or more little gem, a beer that stands out from the rest and deserves a try.

At the other end of the spectrum there are some local breweries that have fantastically exciting sounding beers, beers that I hear great things about that never see the light of day in these parts, despite being “local”. We get beers from Wales, Scotland and the far reaches of England too but it seems Staffordshire, Cheshire and Derbyshire are a no-no. Having discussed this with a few local brewers I was quite startled to learn about how hard it is to get their beers in “local” pubs and shops. Some of the stories of rejection I heard were farcical to say the least, I just don’t understand it, whatever happened to food and drink miles?

Both of these examples spawned an idea which is quite aptly linked to this months topic and to The Session generally.

Why not start a monthly or quarterly blogging topic on local beers to raise the profile of both camps where ever they may be, open to all and published in the same sort of way. I know that this is perhaps most appropriate to UK based bloggers but not prohibitively so and could serve as a sort of reference point to the best beer an area or brewery has to offer where you live.

This could tie in well with some of the work being done by quite a few UK bloggers, who are leading by example and getting hands on in their local CAMRA branch meetings. These guys instead of criticising perceived CAMRA failings, are getting actively involved and putting new opinions across, assisting positive change from within if you like. After all sharing information about the best beers your area has to offer must play a massive part.

What do you think, worth doing as a Session style collective or more of a one man band show?

Big thanks to Matt for hosting this month.