(In love with that glassware!)
There are few beer festivals that pull at my hearts strings. Few that are inked into my calendar as “must do”. But I think that I may just have found another rarity.
Berries, Beans & Beer in Crewe.
My initial reason for attending was to volunteer. There aren’t many legal things I wouldn’t do for the organiser Michelle Shipman. Not only is she an utter sweetie – she’s become a bit of a friend actually – but she is both one of those “Good Beer People” (you know the ones) and one of those “friends with benefits”. In that she makes simply lovely beer. Beer that’s THAT good, that as long as she makes it, I want it at The Independent Salford Beer Festival.
I turned up worrying how this combination of passions (Beer, Coffee & Gin) would work.
And I left as a convert.
- Some of the finest breweries in the country.
- A huge selection of artisanal Gins from small batch producers.
- Coffees from the (as I now know) marvellous Has Bean
- Superb snap (translation? Street Food) stalls outside.
- Superb Beers to take away – from the mighty Otters Tears
- An iconic location – Crewe Heritage Centre
As a drinks festival (OK, in my case, beer) organiser, I was curious to see how this would work.
Oh but it did/does. SO BLOODY WELL.
The things that struck me were
- So bloody civilised. There was such a relaxed feeling and atmosphere to it. Plenty of seating, well spaced. A few families, couples, solos. It felt…….. Just so nice….
- The beers – that I managed to taste at least – were uniformly superb. (With a particular shout out to “Mango Daiquiri” by Pig and Porter)
- A cracking selection of take out beers from Phil of Otters Tears
- The Gins? I snaffled an achingly new – and very tasty – one from Turncoat (creation of Terry Langton – formerly of Liverpool Craft Brewery) and an astonishingly smooth and fruity distillation from Tinker of Keighley.
- Some stunning coffees from Has Bean – I had a few…..
- Food? I had a pulled pork & mac cheese burger from Clucking Oinks which had me in raptures. I saw several tasty looking toasties (Viva La Toastie) getting wolfed and some beaut looking pizza action from Jordy’s Pizza
I volunteered for 6 hours. If I’m honest, it was the easiest, most pleasant way to spend an afternoon I’ve had in ages. That isn’t work to me. It’s a pleasure. Working with people like Chris & Wok (and behind a well stocked bar) couldn’t be other.
This little celebration is still on today. If you have an afternoon to kill and want to to it in relaxed surroundings with fabulous food and drink, I can’t think of anything better to do.
It’s a short walk from Crewe station. And well worth the effort. Just go – and thank me later.
I just hope Michelle repeats this. Because next year I want to be the other side of the bar too!
It was a grand day out.
PS : Being utterly selfish (for you lot), I may have organised a couple of astonishing beers for ISBF yesterday. Just saying mind. It wasn’t all work yesterday you know…..
(Well. You know….)