Sad face happy face..

OK, Rachel and I are in Brugge, and as I start to write this are just back from a classic night out in one of the worlds finest beer destinations. Today has featured visits to the Struise shop for Rio Reserva, Cafe Rose Red, twice sampling the most delicious Troubadour Magma Galaxy, once outside for the sun and later for cosy intimacy. Cambrinus, again, for steak natural style with Belgian frites and mushroom sauce, washed down with Vicaris Generaal, and of course Brugs Beertje where the menu was scoured and relieved of many sours and a Struise Black Albert to close.

Fast forward several hours and after a decent nights kip it’s time to pack and journey onwards into Holland, to Bodegraven bound for Borefts, surely up there with the best beer festivals in the world and I’m sure it will be truly amazing.

But, in the words of Ronnie James Dio “Still I’m Sad”….

I bet your heart well and truly bleeds for me right now as I’m obviously suffering yes? But in all honesty, although normally I’d hack your right leg off with an extra dulled butter knife to be here, where I really want to be is back home and heading here..

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As anyone who knows me well knows only TOO WELL, I’ve taken Macclesfield to heart, it’s folk, the beers, publicans and brewery’s. It’s a great place, friendly and has (or had until recently) a short three pronged bar destination tour I playfully named The Macclesfield Triangle. Well, someone’s well and truly buggered that one up haven’t they, Toby bloody McKenzie!!

Today see’ s the official opening of Red Willow Bar (unless the name has changed since last week), but as I’ve been really close to this project from the beginning, it feels awful not being there to see the doors open for the first time to an eager, thirsty public. I’ve watched Toby and Caroline literally slave over this empty shell, painstakingly “nit-picking” over the finest of fine detail for months to get things ready for that moment, a real labour of love brought to life with the last turn of a key.

With fifteen (yes FIFTEEN) keg lines, five cask and fifty gins amongst other things, there’s going to be something for everyone.

Despite many desperate pleas and even a consideration of sabotage, that key is turning when we are away in Europe and hence the sad face. The happy face will I’m sure return when I hit Borefts in a few hours, where I’ll be undertaking a mission to research the beers on offer, not for me you understand, all for you guys back in Blighty…

Toby, Caroline & everyone at Red Willow, we wish you the very best of luck today and for years to come, the first glass of the day will be raised to you, CHEERS!!

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Red Willow “Tilting Ale’ – “Virgin Trains Get Real”

Following on from yesterdays post, or #Twissupdate 4, I’ve had the press release hot off, in fact not even ON the press and I’m blown away to be able to share it with you guys first.

Fantastic news for Toby, Caroline and everyone associated with RedWillow Brewery I’m sure you will all agree. Read on beer lovers, be happy…

VIRGIN TRAINS GET REAL

Virgin Trains Tilting Ale BottleVirgin Trains has partnered with a local brewery to launch a brand new beer – the Tilting Ale.

Brewed especially for Virgin Trains by Macclesfield’s RedWillow Brewery, this British Pale Ale evokes the spirit and speed of our tilting trains. A high-speed whoosh of flavour tilts smoothly into a light, hoppy taste and arrives, right on time, at a clean finish of bitter.

Served onboard, it’s perfect for sipping at 125mph!

The new beer will be available for sale from our on-board shops from Saturday 22 June 2013 and is sure to quench the thirst of our customers who once again voted Virgin Trains top of all the long distance rail operators in the latest National Passenger Survey published this week.

“We’re always looking at ways to improve the choice and quality of the food and drink on sale from our on-board shops,” said Virgin Trains’ Onboard Product Development Manager Rob Taylor.

“Real ale is growing in popularity and we’re delighted to have been able to partner with a brewery so close to one of our stations.”

That passion is shared by RedWillow co-founder Toby McKenzie. With the help of his wife Caroline, the brewery has developed a growing reputation for quality British ale since its inception back in 2010.

With many awards already under their belt, RedWillow’s objective is a simple one – to make beer that is big in flavour, well-balanced and above all something that people love to drink.

“We’re really excited to have been given the opportunity by Virgin Trains,” explained Toby. “We are striving hard to introduce real quality ale to a much wider audience and we couldn’t have picked a better company to work with.

“It’s particularly pleasing for me as prior to setting up RedWillow with Caroline, I used to travel from Macclesfield to London every day with work. The service onboard was, and still is, second to none so to be chosen to be part of that is a big feather in the cap for the brewery.”

……….

Note: “Tilting Ale” will be officially launched at the Treacle Tap in Macclesfield on Friday 21 June 2013, so if you’re in Macc between 3pm and 6pm, why not pop in for your first taste?

Tilting Ale Generic

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10 Days to go…EEEK #Twissupdate 4 (forward slash lots..)

Yes, I’m still alive and kicking and (I hope) everything is on schedule still for the Macclesfield #Twissup on Sat 29th June.

It’s been a tough old month for various reasons and the Twissup has thrown us a few curveballs to deal with, but I think we are finally getting there. Read on…

Blood Orange Pale Ale #Fail 😦

A few weekends ago I went to spend the day with Mr Jay Kraus at Quantum Brewing to brew the previously announced Blood Orange Pale Ale that was to go with the breakfast pies at our first stop. I had an absolutely great day including a post brew visit to Stockport beer festival, and helping to stave off a less than stealthy invasion of Scotland’s most famous bowler-hatted beer guzzler.

IMG_6164The brew smelt amazing and all was going well, until a week ago when Jay rang to tell me the sad news that the brew had developed some sort of infection and had to be drain poured. Gutted

This left us in the unfortunate position of being too late to brew again or source something unique as we’d hoped especially with the breakfast connection we were hoping for. So, after much ado, we sadly had to accept defeat on the new beer for the Treacle Tap.

However all is not lost, we do have a replacement that I am sure will make you very happy. It’s the latest incarnation of the Marble and Emelisse collaboration brew Earl Grey IPA. If you’ve not had it before, it’s an absolutely beautiful IPA with loads of citrus notes that should get your breakfast off to a flying start, if you have had it before, you already know that…

Triple collab-off 

1005584_10151473650023479_21125648_nMore bad news I’m afraid, (but trust me, again it gets better) the triple Mckenzie/Kraus/Stronge collaboration brew failed to materialise. Not through want of trying, purely the logistics of diaries.

854However, enter stage left Cheshire’s finest Brewster, a Dotty chick by all accounts, who joined forces with Toby at Red Willow to create something amazing featuring this lot ->

I’m led to believe this was just for starters… More news to come on that front in the next few days..

Tilting Ale – Virgin Trains sponsorship

Some excellent news that I’ve had bubbling away screaming to get out for several weeks finally broke the surface last week

Despite Toby’s ever so subtle twitter clues, not many folks picked up on the fact that this was something very special indeed.

This is massive well deserved news for Red Willow and hats off to Virgin Trains too for using locally sourced suppliers to service their onboard stores, of course it has obvious benefits to the beer loving rail traveller too as you will as of this coming Saturday be able to sup Red Willow Tilting Ale as you go, proper “train beer”. Launching at Treacle Tap on Friday 21st June it will be on trains the day after.

But there’s more.. Once Virgin learned of Red Willow and Treacle Taps involvement in the Twissup event, they contacted me to offer sponsorship (which sent me into fits of mild panic, “it’s turning into a monster” I thought). I needn’t of worried though as they have been brilliant, offering support to compliment rather than a marketeers takeover. There are a few things in the pipeline but I have managed to secure twissup attendees with a bottle of Tilting Ale for your journey home (train beer). Stay tuned for details on how to get one..

Weird Beard / Elusive Brewing Nelson Saison launch

As previously reported Nelson Saison is due in town at The Macc for #isosceles, then it nearly wasn’t after a change of management at the venue. Thankfully, after more than a few tense days we are sorted and the beer is winging it’s way north.

Cap-design-FinalI’m also incredibly excited and proud to be able to announce that Weird Beard are launching the beer on the day, so you’ll get to sample it before it hits the even the countries most exclusive beer establishments, insert really smiley bearded skull image here…

and finally

CAMRA Champion Pub of Cheshire 2013

What absolutely cracking timing for the twissup, a fine choice by CAMRA and top news for The Wharf, our last but by no means least stop of the #Twissup.

A bloody good boozer run by bloody nice folk. The special one off beer for The Wharf is brewed and will be announced in the coming days, with brewers attending on the day. Chris has his hop rocket primed and ready to go and a beer list to be announced soon, this will be good…

I shall now stop wittering and go to pour myself a nice cold one, having unburdened my befuddled brain of #Isosceles info, keep your peepers peeled though as there are lots more updates to come, including maps and a sort of itinerary..

Cheers

Please join the Macclesfield Twissup #isosceles Facebook page and sign up.