You may well know that we sell our bottles beers on our stall at local farmers’ markets. We have a core group of regulars who come looking for a beer and a chat. They don’t expect fancy labels and slick branding. In fact, that is the opposite of what they want. We sell more of our bottles with little sticky white (and legally compliant!) labels than any others. For them, it is about provenance and meeting local producers.
However, we do see it as our job to spread the word about small Lancashire brewers. We like to have a few bottles from other local breweries. It keeps the chat and the stall interesting. We only sell bottles from brewers we have met and breweries we have visited. That way we can tell our customers a little about the way the beer has been produced and the person behind it. It gets us out and about. We swap stories and advice. It is one of our favourite things to do.
Last week, I headed up to Rochdale to meet Jenny from Serious Brewing. Jenny and husband Ken set up Serious Brewing with a £25k loan from Business Finance Solutions with the aim of providing bottle conditioned and key-keg beer to local outlets. Their 6BBl kit from Johnson Brewing Design is superb (a few pics from their website here).
Jenny had selected 3 beers that she thought would appeal to our customers. A couple of days later found me and Phil running the Bolton Community Half Marathon and settling down afterwards in the Sunday afternoon sunshine with a bottle opener.
Serious Brewing Company – RedSmith IPA – 4.3%abv – Red IPA (330ml bottle)
I love a red IPA. I was introduced to them by the excellent Infra Red from Hardknott which we had on our first ever market stall. I enjoy the added depth promised. This poured with a slight chill haze and set my mouth watering in anticipation of a juicy bitterness.
It reminded me of our own Holy Hop which is made with 5 American hops. On first taste,the RedSmith managed to be both dry and soft at the same time with Cascade and Centennial coming through without being overpowering. Plenty of life and pleasant around the mouth. Second mouthful and the aroma steps back to leave a good American taste without overdoing it. A good over the top bitterness on the finish taking it out of pale ale into IPA territory. Couldn’t resist opening a Holy Hop and doing a bit of blind tasting. Very close. Close with eyes open too. The sort of beer we like to drink.
We moved up the strength scale into the second of Jenny’s beers.
Serious Brewing Company – Kardinaal – 6.5%abv – Dubbel (330ml bottle)
The Dubbel is my preference amongst the Belgian dubbels, trippels and quads. I am a fan of that caramel hit. This poured a dark, reddish brown that shouted alcoholic warmth. The first taste was all caramel and toffee and was smooth as anything.
Glad to say that the alcoholic warmth was well in the background and on second taste is was raisins and vanilla which was full bodied and sliding down nicely. A good Autumn beer that speaks of brandy snaps and clottled cream. The finish was short with no lingering aftertaste or bitterness. Felt the need to go back for more and gone all too soon.
On to the last and strongest beer in Jenny’s selection.
Serious Brewing Company – Blue Sky – 6.8%abv – Saison (330ml bottle)
After the richness of the dubbel, the saison seemed like a perfect antidote and poured with a big frothy aromatic head. We have a history of saison drinking after running with Wild Beer Company saison being our beer of choice.
3 good beers chosen for our customers by the brewer. Each a good example of their style and a chance to chat and educate our market goers as we go. For me, that is what it is all about. Sharing good local produce with people who want their food and drink made with care. What more could we ask.
You can read more about Jenny and Ken at Rochdale online here.
Cheers – Chris