Here’s to Great Lengths!

session_logoThis months session is hosted by Red, White and Brew, who’ve asked us to consider beer and distance, or which beer was “the longest haul away.”  I first considered writing about the earthy, comforting Dragonhead Stout from the Orkney Brewery– I took a plane and then a car and then a ferry and another car across the the Orkney Mainland to Quoyloo because I thought they would have a visitor centre or at least sell me some beer, but it was just two guys working hard at making more beer.  In the end, I basically went all that way to gush at them about how much I loved it and ended up buying some from the local market.  Along with some bere bread and a mild, crumbly cheese made locally– it was the perfect meal.

But then I reconsidered the subject.  Surely the more interesting take on this is not the farthest beer, but just how far would you go for beer?

Last night I toasted Pete Brown’s IPA voyage carrying a keg of traditional Burton IPA by ship to India. This journey has culminated in a book called Hops and Glory. The book is mixture of high-seas adventure, travelogue and an ode to IPAs.  I read it on the tube and couldn’t help laughing out loud even if that made me look like a nutter.

Last night I got to meet this man who has quite possibly gone the farthest for beer: his warmth, self deprecation and enthusiasm, so apparent in his writing, is amplified in the man.

I spent the night chatting with the Moore Group fellows.  The guys behind the Bronze Age Brewery experiments flew in from Ireland to drink IPAs (The Meantime IPA was my favourite of the evening) and chat about using moss to cork up an old wooden trough to use as a mash tun and boiling water with hot stones, and how none of it is reinactment because let’s face it that word is problematic. Good times!  I hope someday to travel to Ireland to sample their ancient beer and laugh with them again.

Beer obsessives, they are my people.

at the excavated burnt mound at the Tomb of the Eagles, Orkney, what might be the remains of an ancient brewery.

At the excavated burnt mound at the Tomb of the Eagles, Orkney. It very well could be the remains of an ancient brewery.

12 Responses

  1. This sounds fantastic. Did you learn some cool stuff? Because the company sounds awesome.

  2. “How far would you go for beer?” I think either Leeds or Ulverston is the furthest I’ve gone just for beer.

    I do recall going to Manchester when Boddington’s beers were great, and my friend took me to see the brewery. Having admired that, time for a beer. We popped into the brewery tap beside the brewery and asked for two pints of Boddington’s bitter. “Sorry,” the barman said, “we’re waiting for a delivery.”

    • Rednev that is truly surreal!

      Are there any beer “pilgrimages” in the UK that you would suggest?

  3. Impy if you come to Ireland make sure to let me know. We’ll knit and drink pints of ale.

    • Laura, that sounds like paradise! I was thinking of coming maybe in the fall, actually.

  4. Don’t you mean autumn?

  5. Beer pilgrimages? Being from Merseyside, I am biased towards Liverpool, which is blessed with loads of wonderful pubs in the city centre, much better than Manchester city centre, but then Manchester has more breweries and some of the cheapest beer in Britian. So I suppose my answer would have to be the North West as it consistently tops the CAMRA prices survey for the cheapest beer in Britain, has some great beers, and fine pubs to drink it in.

    • Thanks, Rednev. That sounds like a lovely idea for a short trip.

  6. I’ll show you around if you come this way. By the way: 5:49 am??

    • I look forward to it, Rednev! (And yes, I often get up way too early for my own good. )

  7. I never knew there was a 5:49 in the morning as well.

    • It is a dire place…only traversed with the help of strong coffee.

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