Sunday, 2 November 2014

Kent holiday. Craft beer calling and all that.

Kent, a splendid place
As you may have guessed, I've been on holiday. To Kent of all places. Home of British hops, picturesque villages, lots of southerners like Mark Dredge (originally) and the in-laws. Kent also has some cool towns like Whistable (with its Oysters and hidden beer shop) and Canterbury. Canterbury is a bit like York with wider streets and has an awesome brew pub called The Foundry, home of Canterbury Brewery.

Pure English hop nectar. Brewed with wet East Kent Goldings hops.

In many ways Kent is a bit like Northumberland with its endless countryside but a bit more tame and sophisticated. Staying in a converted Oast house was a welcome novelty feature. Lots of time at the coast and with family. Although at one point I found myself doing battle with a hornet in the living room using a rolled up magazine.  My Gadd's Green hop as the sun sets more than out weighed this negative. Another highlight was this beer.

Itzamna Chocolate and Vanilla Porter at 9.6% was nothing short of outstanding on keg at The Foundry. A big oily voluptuous bear hug of chocolate, fruits and alcohol made it the stand out beer of the holiday. Nonetheless, all things come to an end and the bad news was the end of the holiday would overlap with the first two days of Newcastle's first ever Craft Beer Calling. A festival featuring countless keg and cask local and worldwide beers alongside street food. I for one was happy to hear that Panda Frog Dartfrog-48 Dunkel Rye Weizen sold out in three hours and was one of the first to go. Even Melissa Cole tried it.

Cask and keg lines at Craft Beer Calling 2014
 I was surprised to see a full row beer lines available. Unlike your regular beer fest the lines seemed ever changing and didn't just run out leaving a turned pump clip. This is great but I got the impression that the day 1 and Saturday night people probably got the best deal with so much turn over and lines running out and being replaced. I missed a lot of good ones but the combination we got was no let down. Allendale's Export Stout was a must with its depth and roast malt bite. Along with this, Tyne Bank Heavenly Porter, Northern Alchemy lemon and vanilla porter and a couple of good ones from Bad Seed brewery were to name a few.

Left to right: Allendale Neil, Northern Alchemy Andy, Tyne Bank Julia, N. Alchemy Karl, Mordue Matt, Me. 

It was around 2pm when a few of us brewing types got hauled upstairs for a meet the brewer's like discussion on beer and the market. This interview was conducted by Matt from Wylam, and the discussion was manly about the meaning of craft beer and the shape of the market and where it's going. Although I didn't say much it was great to hear the input from the others on how they see things.

So all in all it was a great festival, and great to hang out with brewing folk which gives you the opportunity to talk almost exclusively about beer for great lengths of time. From what I hear Craft Beer Calling is due to make a return next year. Next time I would hope to experience more of it.


Anonymous said...

Cooking Lager would have been proud of this Blog Rob, Tears of Burhouse, classic.

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