Train beer, Christmas cheer..

A few hours ago I went on a journey. A short 16 minute hop to a town nearby where the happy folk live (to quote “The Gorillas”). Only a small group of beer aficionados made up our merry band but nevertheless we arrived, met friends, drank amazing beer from cask, bottle and keg, some rum and even a cocktail without incident.

As per usual we made our pant-wettingly close dash for the last train back to Stoke. For once we arrived with minutes to spare & happily chatted as we waited for our “chauffeur driven carriage” home…

Soon our train came into view and slowly pulled into the station chockablock full of suitably seasonally lubricated revellers. The doors opened and just as people started to alight, what can only described as a cowardly drunken wanker, grabbed another passenger by the lapels and hurled him off the train to the concrete platform a foot or so below and swiftly without pause made good his escape without looking back…

The victim of this cowardly act, although dazed, without fuss, picked himself up, got back on the train & joined his, wife, (girlfriend, date, partner) dusted himself off and astonishingly in an amazing display of tolerance just laughed it off.

From then on, all the way home I had the most overwhelming urge to shake this guys hand and tell him how well “he’d handled the situation” and “what a bigger man he was” all of which even now seems very true. I didn’t, as I assumed that after that he’d just want to be left alone , but I was still left with a feeling of well…why?

What is it in some people ,that after a couple of drinks or several, makes it ok in their seemingly minuscule brain to do that to another human being?

The risk, outcome and potential implications are obvious to me at least and I hope with all my heart that the aggressor has a long sleepless night worrying about his bullish act of drunken bravado.

Nevertheless tonight’s unpleasantness has wider, thought promoting connotations about alcohol consumption and how beer/alcohol is perceived by government and the media. I may be massively stereotyping here, but I’d put money on the likely highest strength beer having been partaken by most of folk on that train tonight as less than 5% abv, whereas I’d say with our group in truth that is probably the lowest.

So as I sit here (hopefully legibly) typing this, whilst drinking my Emelisse Buffalo Trace barrel aged barley wine, at 1 AM, I’m proof that our governments policies on targeting high strength beers as being the root of our societies evil are utter tosh. I didn’t need policing, was no burden on the NHS and in my blinkered view at least, am in full possession of all my faculties.. (I reserve the right to review this on reading tomorrow)

In short, it’s not what, or how much you drink, it’s how you drink it…..

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 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