The big three double O..

300xThis is my 300th post, a bit of a milestone for me and long overdue. Much in beer has changed since I first sat down and decided to start blogging under the Beersay handle around five or six years ago..

Brewdog opened their first bar in Aberdeen sometime during my first year in blogging proper. My own first visit to a new-fangled “craft beer” bar came I think a year or so later when I walked through the doors of Mr Foley’s in Leeds. 

Mr Foley’s rapid rise to fame came largely in my view at least, as a result of the vision of it’s then manager Dean Pugh. His potential quickly spotted, @BrewDogBarDean as he is now known, became manager at Brewdog Manchester, before helping to establish the brands UK flagship 40-tap bar in Shepherds Bush. Then bringing the timeline bang up to date. Only a few weeks ago, Dean packed his bags and moved to Berlin, and he’s not just going over to watch better football. 

Although saying that, currently the only team doing “wurst” than his is my own.

In that time of course Brewdog’s massive expansion has been mirrored by a huge rise facial growths of the beardy variety, many other things grown too, breweries, bars, beer columns in the press, full-on “quality” beer publications, podcasts, twitter beer shows, blogs and more.

Beer Festivals are no longer purely the domain of brown, there is a now veritable rainbow of colour choice, cloudy is acceptable and if a beer is sour, it won’t necessarily always mean “it’s off, sorry I’m sending it back”.

The once awful catchphrase uttered by a landlord, “here’s a fruit based drink for your good lady” doesn’t have to mean he’s being sexist, but only if he’s just handed you a bourbon barrel aged imperial apricot and mango saison. If not, he’s still a twat.

Beer is on TV, hooray! OK it still needs work and will get better, but it’s getting there.

Loads of the beer writers that inspired me to write also have moved on. Some have written books, become beer sommeliers, taken jobs in breweries, STARTED breweries, launched enormously successful beer festivals, opened bars, shops etc. Some have done pretty much all of the above.

Personally speaking I certainly don’t write as much now as I once did and there are many reasons for that. So many more folk doing it better than I do being one that immediately springs to mind. But that is a good thing too, as clearly with more being written by more people, beers popularity has risen enough to enthuse more people to be passionate about it in whatever fashion they see fit.

I definitely get a buzz about it still, especially when folk comment or say that I have inspired them in some way, or even if they just tell me I’ve written a complete load of tosh, as at least I know they bothered to take time out to read it.

If nothing else, I have made so many new and good friends over the years, not just drinking buddies, people I truly class as long-term close friends, people I trust and can (and do) confide in, go to for help and get it, help back, have a moan at or with, or just plain have a laugh and get drunk next to. Inspirational people in some way all of them.

THANK YOU ALL!

But the times they are a changing, as old Bobby Dylan once scribbled: and I have exciting news. Things are about to change for me too

Exciting, scary things..

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Things are about to get otter, but I’ll tell you more about that in a day or so..

Cheers!

Macc To Basics – Route and Timings #Twissupdate

twissupReeto! It is now officially Macclesfield Twissup Eve…

I’ve been up against it today time wise, so apologies that this is a little later than planned. Below is basically a rough timetable for the day, but as always nothing is carved in stone, especially this year. So expect a leisurely wander, to great places with lovely folk, drinking ace beer.

All timings are approximate and all beers listed as being on are subject to change; as beer sometimes can be unpredictable. This is a quick rundown, a snapshot if you will, of some of the beverages that await you…

*Saturday 22nd August 2015*

Our first stop, Treacle Tap is easy to find. Walking out of Macclesfield train station, turn left down the bank onto Sunderland Street (No 43), the bar is 2 minutes walk and is on the right hand side, walking away from the station as you look at it.

Treacle Tap – 11am-12:45

Marble Brewery tap takeover, informal meet the brewer session. Great North Pie Co “Breakfast Pie.

RedWillow Brewery – 12:45-14:45

Faithless XLV, a New Zealand Hopped Brett IPA mini-launch. Faithless 44 Dry Hopped Pilsner, Directionless (or Wreckless tbc). Toby Mckenzie cremating meat.

(Gunco Lane)

The Wharf 15-16:45

Cellar aged Cheshire Brewhouse “Smokehouse Porter” (12 months), and Anarchy Quiet Riot IPA (a little less). Further cask and keg offerings.

(107 Brook Street)

RedWillow Bar 17-00 – 19:00/till late

Roosters Baby Faced Assassin, Salopian Kashmir, Mikkeller Crooked Moon and many, many more…

(32a Park Green St)

Brewtique – Bottle Bar and Taphouse 11AM – 11PM (all day) then general wanderings from RWB roughly 19:00 onwards

Four keg taps, full bottle menu. Lots of SOURs, see here.

(8 Market Place)

To confirm this is not a ticketed event, anyone can come along. It would be great if you can join us for the whole day, but if not you should find us in the vicinity of the venues at the above times. Share the love using the #MaccToBasics hashtag on twitter, have fun.

See you at 11am in The Treacle Tap, I have a hot date with a breakfast pie..

Cheers

RedWillow Brewery, Bar and Grill #Twissupdate #MaccToBasics

Basic CMYKAs with previous events, one of the highlights of any Twissup is the brewery visit. It’s a chance to chill out, have wander around the brewery, ask stupid questions, point, poke and sniff things.

RedWillow are welcoming us all again, giving old and new a sneak preview of the new huge brewhouse, which is rapidly progressing to being operational (ish).

We have a few treats for you here, including the unofficial mini-launch of Faithless XLV, a New Zealand Hopped Brett IPA, which sounds WONDERFUL! Hopefully Faithless 44 Dry Hopped Pilsner and we think either Directionless or Wreckless (tbc).

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I am also reliably informed that Toby is bringing along his BBQ, which was described as being “like a spaceship”! The man himself will be manning the flight deck and burning things for your delight (maybe Smokeless would have been a good idea), no other men (or women) of course will be allowed to touch or even look even slightly lovingly at the BBQ, as it is like being unfaithful, please bear this in mind as you approach..

IPL badgeOlly Clarke from Freedom Brewery will be with us and is hoping to bring along a few samples of their new IPL, plus a few other bits to hand out as samples, (assuming he is still able to speak and has control of his limbs at this point). Don’t hang about though as neither will last long..

Down at RedWillow Bar later in the day, a suitably well stuffed beer menu will await you. Including fresh on for the day, two of my all time favourite beers, Roosters gorgeous “Baby Faced Assassin” and Salopian’s delightful “Kashmir”, plus Mikkeller’s “Crooked Moon DIPA” which sounds dangerously good.

mikkeller-crookedRedWillow Bar will also have “Fearless” T-shirts for sale on the bar, priced at £15 each, but sadly will not serving food as it is just too busy to make this practical on a day like this, however if you have the munchies, do have snacks, plus there are plenty of takeaways nearby.

I’ve written this in a bit of a rush, so hope I haven’t missed anything (shout up if I have). A full run down of the route and timings will be up later at around 6pm.

Please share, tell your friends, come along and enjoy what is normal a fantastic day of beer!

CHEERS!

 

Brew(tique) kid on the block! #Twissupdate #MaccToBasics

Blimey! It’s Thursday already, only two days to our little “bimble” around Macclesfield’s finest. I’d better get sharing some info..

As with last year, our intention is to follow a similar route and timings, Treacle Tap, RedWillow brewery, The Wharf and RedWillow Bar, a copy of the timings to follow (probably Friday). But, we have a rather pleasant problem, another stop to fit in to the itinerary, but when?

logoBrewtique, already worth a visit, recently relocated.  Outgrowing their small but perfectly formed earlier home, they packed up and shifted further up into town on Market Place (No8).

This move however gave them more options to spread out, expand the range and include a “drink in” option to their offering to customers. More space, bottle fridges and four lovely keg fonts of joy, one sour, one dark and two “other”.

Anticipated offerings on Saturday (subject to availability):

  • Boon – 2 year old Lambic
  • Arbor – Nitro Stout
  • Lervig – Lucky Jack
  • Offbeat/Otherton – Triplette Saison
  • Kegs “next up”, (should the above go) Troubadour – Gollem IPA, Thornbridge – Cocoa Wonderland, Beavertown – Gamma Ray, Kona Longboard Lager.
  • Fully stocked bottle/can fridges (over 150 beers)
  • Belgian and International Sours (see lists below, again subject to availability)

I attended the opening night recently and any fears over lack of space soon faded. The place feels airy and has some really interesting features including this super cool cellar space, soon to see tasting sessions and already home to a stack of ageing lambics, Orval etc.

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So what is the problem, well, although they have moved from the previous semi-mountainous site, 8 Market Place is a little “off-piste” (yes, piste) in terms of our route, making it difficult to have a dedicated time slot.

The guys at Brewtique have therefore agreed to basically say look, we are open all day from 11am to 11pm for anyone who wants to pop in (it is only about 5 minutes walk from the train station) plus, it opens options for breakouts from RedWillow Bar at busy times being only a short walk away, and the extra place to visit afterwards, be that for locals or folks homeward bound by train. Please pay them a visit, I know I intend to.

Brewtique – 8 Market Pl, Macclesfield, Cheshire East SK10
01625 503228

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See you at the bar…

Cheers!

NDmRFDoK N1KoNryM IzBOQFAs

 

 

 

 

 

Marbles, Pies and Treacle – Twissupdate #MaccToBasics

treacle tap logo

News just in and confirmed from the “Treacle” of a Marble Brewery Tap takeover for Twissup. As you can see from the list below, they are bringing a mixture of classics and specials to kick off the day.

As per last years Runaway event, I expect it will be an informal Q & A session, with a few goodies to give away (T-Shirts, glassware etc) to the fortunate few and lots of supping.

Beer list as below:

450Cask:
Marble Pint
Marble La Petite Toulousaine
Marble Lagonda

Keg:
Marble Dobber
Marble Earl Grey IPA
Marble Bohéme (new Czech-style Lager)

Great North Pies, Supreme Champions of 2015 The British Pie Awardhave created the amazing (exclusive) breakfast pie again for the day, featuring such delights as bacon, black pudding, Hob Nob biscuits (yes, that’s right) served as usual with beans. For vegetarians there is a Cheese & Onion Pie option which is an absolute delight, coming from a dedicated carnivore that is fine praise indeed.

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It is all getting scarily close, hope to see some faces old and new at the Treacle Tap tucking in. Our starting venue, kicking off at 11am. See you there!

Cheers

 

Macc To Basics

For the oh so many people that have been asking me about this, I can at last confirm that this years Macclesfield #Twissup is go!

P1020544As you can probably guess from the lack of updates, since we decided to kill the “Macc To The Future” idea through lack of interest (it seemed a great idea when we were drunk), things have been a little quiet..

I stand and solely take the blame for this, as for many reasons which are now thankfully all gone, I’d lost my drive to drive the event as much as I had in previous years. But thankfully due in truth to the support from you guys, and in particular I’d say Matt at the Treacle too for pushing me on, we going ahead as planned on Saturday 22nd August 2015.

What has made it trickier this time around is that there has been so much going on behind the scenes. Toby at RedWillow building a new brewery, Chris closing and reopening a new, larger and much improved Brewtique, and Bronwyn and Tim with their network of fine establishments. So we decided to take it back to basics (#MaccToBasics) and just go with a great social drinking theme. No big beer launches (unless of course anyone fancies it), just a great range of beer and food, a good crowd of friendly people having a beery bimble around the usual haunts.

IMG_6367So far we have the return of the amazing Great North (breakfast) Pie Co at The Treacle Tap as our starting point at 11AM. Where we will also have the pleasure of an informal Meet The Brewer session with Marble and I’m sure a fine selection of their beers tbc.

Toby is again opening up RedWillow brewery for us to try a few beers and take a look around the new brewery building so that you can see it as a work in progress.

Chris at The Wharf is escaping on holiday, but again is happy to welcome us and put on some “cellar specials” as well as the normal top range. He is also hoping that folk will take an excursion up to the new shop which now has beer on tap including a dedicated sour line. It’s probably not feasible for us all to go “en-masse”, but we should have plenty of time to visit as they are open all day till late.

Image 1Finishing off the day as last year in RedWillow Bar, which I am sure will have enough to keep you all happy on the cask, keg and gin front among other things. Molly and the team will I’m sure pull out the stops to make the days beer board as amazing as last year.

IMG_0273Full details to be confirmed for all venues as soon as I have them on the likely beer lists, venue timing itineraries, food etc. “So keep em peeled”. Hope to see you all soon.

Cheers

Positive Waves….

IMG_2622Things have been quiet here on the post front for several months you may, or may not have noticed. For lots of reasons, most of them personal and not for discussion here, but basically a lack of drive or inspiration to write anything worth reading (which may well still be the case)..

Part of that too was a feeling that blogging (for me at least) had become a little stale and for want of a better descriptor, “samey”, which doesn’t really mean anything at all.

If I did feel the urge to engage brain to pinkies, it was inevitably about something negative. So I refrained from doing so in an effort to not piss people off, and in doing so save my “iKeyboard” from being fist-mashed into something beyond the recognition of even the late Steve Jobs..

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So why now, I hear you collectively cry? (thanks to both of you for crying that by the way)

Well, a few things really. Weirdly the first was the second anniversary of Simon #Scoop Johnson’s death (which doesn’t seem that long ago at all). I was reading some of his old posts and it made me think, I miss these. Simon’s writing was informative, witty, farsighted, grounding and sometimes (perhaps always), absolutely bonkers. His posts generally made you feel happy or at least able to laugh at even serious issues, beer and blogging about beer should be fun.

Exhibit A: Harrumph

Exhibit B: Money For Old Rope…

If you never got to meet Simon or in particular read any of his work, go and have a good rummage through his blog, time well spent I assure you.

IMG_2637The second was this last weekend and an impromptu visit to both BlackJack and Runaway Breweries as part of the Manchester Brewery Expo, to quote the latter twitter profile “Manchester Brewery Expo is a collaborative, open door event to celebrate our brewing community, shared goals, and unique characteristics”.

The Expo included and just happened to coincide with BlackJack’s own monthly brewtap weekender, which I heartily recommend. But my attendance wasn’t planned. Two brief early morning comments sparking an idea that grew quickly to become a wonderful afternoon where I met so many good beer people, friends, enjoying their company and conversation. I felt that dark cloud lift for a while, thinning and rising ever higher, bright warming rays starting to peep through the gaps.

(For reference, in terms of the whole event, there was so much going on that I didn’t get to see over the weekend, but in any case I completely forgot to take any pictures… However, for a flavour of that, check out this fine photoblog by Mark Johnson).

The final thing though, was a most timely email last night from some social media site congratulating me on the fact that the blog was “3 years old today”, it even had a cartoon cake!

“Wow” I thought “three years, it feels longer than that”.

It was, my first post on Beersay was actually February 2011, so it is actually nearer four and a half. So, maybe taking a break has just done me good. I’m hoping so and that this is a sign of my returning mojo in whatever form that may take. Beer blogging has been kind to me, I’ve learned so much and made more friends with similar interests than I would have ever thought possible. Only time will tell..

Raising a glass to “positive waves” people, “positive waves”. #ODDBALL