I’ve been busy brainstorming with the chefs for our next Beer & Food Matching evening on Saturday 25th May. I have learnt a lot recently, especially from my recent bout of moonlighting at Galvin Cafe a Vin, I have to say it is one of my favourite menus so far…
We kick off at The Thatchers at 7.30pm for a seven course menu, we’ve chosen a different beer to pair with each course, all for £30 a head (including beers!). Bookings are essential and can be made by email or on 01787 227460
The menu may change slightly due to availability of beers or produce, but currently we are looking at the following*…
Home Smoked Duck, Mango, Blackberry & Gem Lettuce with Raspberry Vinaigrette
Williams Bros Roisin (Teyberry Beer)
Southern Fried Chicken with Fennel Coleslaw
Brooklyn Lager (Vienna Lager)
Cumin Roasted Local Asparagus with Pearl Barley & Spiced Raisin Salad
Wild Beer Co Bliss (Apricot Saison)
Beef Rendang Curry with Jasmine Rice
Williams Bros Joker IPA (American IPA)
Farmer Bills Grown Up Chocolate Ice Cream Float
Harviestoun Old Engine Oil (Porter)
Banana Bread & Butter Pudding with Wheat Beer Caramel
Tryst Zetland Wheat (Amber Wheat Beer)
British Smoked Cheeseboard
Arran Dark (Heavy)
*we are happy to arrange alternatives for vegetarians or any other dietary requirements as long as we have prior notice.
So the 2013 Budget has been announced, not only has the Beer Duty Escalator been scrapped, but duty on a pint has actually been decreased by 1p, the first reduction in beer duty since 1973, hooray! CAMRA, among many others, have been campaigning to stop this punitive tax for some time, I have written to both George Osborne and my MP Bernard Jenkin on the matter.
A few weeks ago got the opportunity to put my point of view directly to Mr Jenkin as he poured pints behind my bar. It is a great relief that all the hard work of those campaigning has not been in vein, a huge heartfelt ‘thank you’ goes out to Mr Osborne and the current Government for listening to the plight of the pub and believing in us.
We campaigned for the escalator to be stopped because we believe less duty per pint will in fact increase sales and in turn provide greater duty revenue. We believe the increased sales will increase jobs in the industry, in particular with younger persons, currently the worst affected by unemployment. This will also help to reduce the strain on the Government in terms of unemployment benefits. We also believe that by encouraging customers to drink beer in a social, monitored environment such as the pub instead of drinking often stronger alcoholic drinks at home we can help to reduce alcohol abuse and related crime rates. The budget wasn’t good news for the whole of the alcohol industry, cider, wine & spirits all saw rises in duty, so was the beer duty reduction just for the headlines? I don’t believe so, higher taxation & pricing on higher ABV drinks will hopefully encourage more drinkers to opt for beer, better for our health & a boost to our British brewing industry.
Since the Duty Escalator was introduced in 2008 beer duty increased by 42% leaving brewers and publicans squeezing their margins each year to keep the cost of a pint down for our customers. However, according to CAMRA, 5800 pubs have closed since 2008 proving that this isn’t sustainable. Is a 1p reduction in duty going to change things overnight or even follow through to a 1p reduction at the till? Possibly not, but this is a glint of hope for an industry recovery, offering a small amount of breathing space, a chance to stem the closures. Here is an opportunity to regain our profit margin to help pay for the other increased costs we have seen over the past five years including general food prices, brewers increases, energy rises, fuel duty hikes, increased minimum wage and holiday pay for staff, higher business rates and the whopping 20% VAT rate.
All of the increases have left us less than competitive against supermarkets and peoples sofas where alcohol consumption often isn’t in a social environment and isn’t monitored or regulated by a responsible licensee. Many of our customers, also feeling the pinch, have understandably taken the cheaper option, especially when deals for 4 litres of 7.5% cider at £5 can be found in off licenses. How can we compete with more than the weekly recommended number of alcohol units for a fiver!
The abolition of the duty escalator is a step in the right direction, the start of something good for pubs. We still have a lot of obstacles to overcome and hopefully this budget is a sign that we will gain more Government support to help us though them. Somehow we need to stop supermarkets offering such irresponsible deals and close the gap between pricing in the pub and the retail giants. Personally I don’t believe minimum pricing is the answer, a reduction in VAT for hospitality is. If we can hold true to our forecasts for increased duty revenue following the scrapping of the escalator perhaps they’ll listen to us when we say the same will happen if VAT for hospitality is reduced too…
Want to know more about Jacques Borel’s VAT reduction campaign? We pulled together as an industry over the escalator, if we can do it again over the next 12 months who knows what we can achieve. Who’s in?
Inspired by Pete Brown’s latest book ‘Shakespeare’s Local’, I decided to make the small detour to Southwark on my latest trip to London in order to visit the main subject of the book The George Inn. At a recent book reading at The Thatchers Arms Pete asked who had visited The George, I was sad to be in the minority who hadn’t.
As I made my way through the streets between London Bridge Station and The George I find myself recalling portions of the book, Borough has always been a hive of activity, the entrance to the city of London and the last stop before leaving. The constant hustle and bustle, locals, tourists, commuters, students, cars, busses, trains, Boris bikes all whizzing past with the dull whirring blades of a helicopter hovering over the borough, nothing has changed. The smells of a dozen cultures pour out of cafes and restaurants. The Shard looms dominantly overhead keeping a watchful eye on its new Kingdom while tourists flock with cameras to capture the glassy protrusion. Round the corner on to Borough High Street and just up ahead, a small sign ‘The George’. I turn into the courtyard with its balistrades and benches and the whirring and whizzing stops, replaced by the hum of conversation, the sounds of a dozen languages instead of the smells of their cultures. Men and women, old and young, drinking wine and beer, coffee and soft drinks, a bar snack, a meal, The George services them all just as it always has.
I write this as I sup a pint of their eponymous ale, not bad, pretty good actually, nothing to write home about in itself, but it shouldn’t be, the pub is the star, afterall it has been here since… well it’s complicated, you’ll need to read Pete’s book to find that out.
Ok, so this isn’t about beer, but it was a fantastic evening and we’d love to share the results with you. At the beginning of February, in conjunction with Susanna Forbes from Drinkbritain.com, we hosted what we believe to be the first cider vs wine & food matching battle. Diners were treated to a five course meal and enjoyed a wine & a cider with each course. Each match was voted for ‘Ready Steady Cook’ style with different coloured cards.
Cider was represented by Henry Chevallier-Guild, eighth-generation cider producer at Aspall, and Pete Brown Beer Writer of the Year and author of Shakespeare’s Local. In the wine corner, River Café Sommelier and the 2012 Best Sommelier of the Year, Emily O’Hare, teamed up with the Dan Probert, manager of Adnams Cellar & Kitchen store in Holt, Norfolk.
Whilst cider had a 4:1 victory, it was a lot closer than it may seem with one course only having 1 vote in it! Offshoot Films Film Club members Ashley and Dominic produced a short video of the evening which captures the great atmosphere and the results. If you’d like to see the full menu then scroll to the bottom of the page… enjoy.
And a very special thank you goes to Aspall for donating the welcome drink of Cuvée Chevallier and Billecart Salmon Champagne for supplyling their Rosé Champagne free of charge.
See some other accounts of the evenings events:
- A ‘Storify’ of the live tweets from the evening
- Dan Proberts account on Adnams.co.uk
- Susanna Forbes account on Drinkbritain.com
- The East Anglian Daily Times
MENU & SCORES
Brocolli & Parmesan Soup with Homemade Chilli Foccaccia
17 Vallobera Rioja Blanco, Rueda, Spain; £7.99, Adnams
44 El Gaitero, Spain; £1.55 33cl; Slurp.co.uk, Waitrose
Mackerel Fillet with a Fennel, Mint & Parsley Salsa & a Pont Neuf Potato
43 Gougenheim Torrentes 2011, Mendoza, Argentina; £6.99, Adnams
18 Aspall Premier Cru, Suffolk; £2.59/50cl; Aspall, Adnams, Waitrose
Slow Roast Blythburgh Pork Belly with a Homemade Duck, Pork & Sage Sausage & Tomato & Mixed Bean Cassoulet
30 Quinto do Crasto, Crasto Tinto 2010, Douro Valley, Portugal; £9.49; Adnams
31 Henney’s Vintage 2011, Herefordshire; £2.09/50cl; BeersofEurope.co.uk
Eddy’s Sour Cherry Cheesecake
21 Billecart-Salmon Brut Rosé NV Champagne, France; £52.99; Berry Bros & Rudd, selected independents
32 Aspall Imperial Cyder, Suffolk; £3.08/50cl; Aspall, BeersofEurope.co.uk
5 Cheesecake; 3 Abstentions
Suffolk Gold & Binham Blue Cheeses with chutney & biscuits
3 Gonzales Byass ‘Vina AB’ Amontillado, Jerez, Spain; £13.59; Adnams
58 Once Upon a Tree Blenheim Superb 2011; Herefordshire; £16/37.5cl; Once Upon a Tree
Dear Bernard Jenkin,
As a publican within your constituency I wrote to you and to George Osborne prior to the last budget regarding the Alcohol Duty Escalator. I received a short response from the treasury stating that the contents of my letter had been registered with no further action or correspondence. I also received a short dismissive letter from your office stating that neither a reduction in duty, a halt to the duty escalator or a reduction in VAT for the hospitality industry were on your agenda.
Since that time the planned 2% above inflation rise in duty has happened and business within the pub industry has not grown any easier. There are many factors affecting trading in these tough economic times with the crippling Alcohol Duty being a major contributor. We pay more alcohol duty per unit of alcohol than any country in the EU. I would like to suggest that this punitive taxation is not helping to increase treasury revenue as despite the increased sum of duty per unit you are losing vast amounts of VAT. This is partially because supermarkets are selling alcohol cheaply, many bulk buy deals are still under or around the 40p per unit price proposed for minimum pricing. A 40p per unit price should net the government coffers around 8p in VAT, however as they are selling below price it will be affecting their profits and in turn reducing their overall tax bill. The vast difference in price between the below cost alcohol sold in the supermarkets and the responsibly served drinks in pubs means more people are choosing to drink at home in these auspicious times.
As the average price of a pint in a pub is around the £3 mark, and the average pint (at 4% ABV) contains 2.3 units, the average unit of alcohol is being retailed up and down the country at £1.30 in pubs. This results in 22p per unit in VAT nearly 3 times that of the supermarket prices. Pubs also have a higher staff ratio than supermarkets meaning that if there are busier pubs we will be employing more staff per unit of alcohol served. This not only helps to decrease unemployment and reduce our vast benefits bill but will actually increase Government revenue through increased contributions to NI and income tax.
Standard Government reasons behind the duty escalator are two fold, firstly revenue, which I have just covered and shown to have flawed logic. The second reason that is flouted is for health benefits. As I have already discussed the increased duty and other pressures on pubs have made the safe, supervised drinking environment too expensive. We now have more and people drinking at home, drinking on the streets, drinking without any supervision. This can only lead to more health problems and more alcohol related crime. The money they were spending in the pub now gets them almost three times more booze to drink at home. Pubs are still closing at an alarming rate, forced out of business by the high prices they are required to charge to cover the ever increasing overheads.
I write this letter as the petition to scrap the Duty Escalator nears 100,000 signatures prompting a discussion in parliament. I write hoping that you take my points on board, that the 100,000 signatures we have collected result in more than a dismissed 20 minute backbench debate. Not only do pubs have the potential to raise vast amounts of tax revenue but we’ll do it while responsibly serving and monitoring those who drink within our establishments. We’ll do it while creating jobs, creating communities, creating entrepreneurs. We’ll do it while raising hundreds of thousand pounds for charity and while becoming a home from home for people from all walks of life, we are the backbone of your ‘Big Society’. We are well equipped to serve rural areas and the elderly generation ensuring that the community spirit brought about over the past year with the Jubilee and our summer of sport lives on.
In truth there are actually three things which will help pubs and in return help tax revenue. Abolition of the duty escalator and reduction in duty, reduction in VAT for hospitality businesses, as has happened across Europe with positive effects, and a minimum price on alcohol of at least 60p forcing supermarkets to sell alcohol more responsibly and above cost.
Please take a stand on behalf of all of the pubs & pub goers in your constituency; please take these points to parliament. I ask this of you as a resident, a business owner and a parish Councillor within your constituency. On behalf of my neighbours, my staff, my colleagues within the industry and my parish I hope you are listening.
Dear George Osborne,
When you failed to mention the Great British Industry of brewing whilst promising to support other industries such as medicine & Aerospace I had a feeling that I wouldn’t like the rest of what you had to say. The brewing & pub industries employ around 600,000 tax paying people (numbers courtesy of Brew Wales blog) producing & serving a truly unique British product which is served responsibly in over 52,000 business rate paying establishments. These jobs & establishments alone have the capacity to provide massive amounts of cash for the government coffers, especially when you consider the VAT & Duty paid on the alcohol produced & sold as well as NI, Employee Tax, Small Business & Corporation Taxes & Business Rates. By continuing to severely & irreparably damage this industry on an annual basis you will inevitably, if not already, be reducing your income significantly.
Your rapid fire announcement of the continuation of the duty escalator was cowardly and clearly intended once again to fool most of the general public. By saying “No change on alcohol duty set out by my predecessor” many will have barely heard you and only understood “no change”. You labored over cartoon characters Wallace & Grommit for longer than you did the crippling 2%+ inflation rise is Duty on Alcohol that you are imposing for yet another year.
You may make noises about health, alcohol abuse and misuse, but do you really think that supermarkets and off licenses will be affected in the same way as pubs? Each year the gap widens between the price a responsibly served pint costs in a supervised environment like a pub and the cheap can or bottle of imported spirits that is available without monitoring in supermarkets. People who are misusing alcohol do not do so in a pub, they do so from the comfort of their own sofa with the ease and affordability of home deliveries meaning they can continue to buy alcohol even if they can’t walk.
The Great British Pub is at the heart of its community, creating jobs not only for staff, but also local suppliers and brewers, pubs also raise vast quantities of cash for charities each and every year and act as a social hub where people meet, talk, make friends and embody the spirit of The Big Community you keep trying to persuade us you are in favour of.
After over 100 MP’s signed a petition to scrap the Duty Escalator I was approaching the budget this year with slight optimism, how foolish. Thanks again for the stab in the back to two Great British institutions, the pub & the brewery. A can of beer in the supermarket costs 50p, a pint in a pub around £3. Have you actually spent more than a few nano seconds thinking about which would you prefer 20% VAT from?
Incidentally I have signed the e-petition to Stop the Duty escalator, I have encouraged my peers & customers to do the same and I have written to my MP previously with the same issues and a plea to reduce VAT for the hospitality sector to 5% if not only for the Olympics. People within the media and the beer industry with far more clout than myself have also been campaigning for the above issues. Not once do I feel that myself or any of the rest of the industry have been listened to properly, and I cannot understand why such a rich part of our countries history is being treated with such disdain from each and every Government over recent years.
I’m sure most of my fellow licensees alongside industry employees, brewers & pub operators would join me in wishing you and your cowardly cabinet barred from every pub in the country until you start to support us with reduced Duty, VAT or business rates, anything truly would be a start.
The Thatchers Arms
p.s. My chef baked this lovely loaf of bread for you, lets say it represents the ever tightening pressures you place on my margins and my business in which I employ nearly 20 people. and pay over £1k a week in VAT alone.
Update: I received the carefully considered and thoughtful response below on the 26th March, 5 days after sending a copy to the Treasury
Dear Mr Adams
I am writing on behalf of Her Majesty’s Government to thank you for your email of 21 March.
Ministers are always keen to receive feedback from people up and down the country, so it is very good of you to take the time to write and to let them have your views. Please rest assured that the contents of your letter have been registered by the Treasury.
Thank you, once again, for taking the trouble to write to us with your views.
Yours sincerely Miss HM Lewinson Correspondence and Information Rights Unit HM Treasury
Friday October 28th 7:30 for 8pm
Which is the best match for your meal, beer or wine? At the Thatchers Arms, Mount Bures, we are hosting a Beer vs Wine & Food matching evening to find out. We are lucky enough to have Saturday Kitchen’s Tim Atkin & Beer Writers Adrian Tierney Jones & Melissa Cole to help us decide over a five course menu. Each of the courses will be served with a wine and a beer. The experts will talk us through their choices and leave it to the guests to decide.
The five courses costing £30 including beer & wine are kindly supported by Adnams & Slurp.co.uk with the food being supported by Direct Seafoods & John Colemans Butchers, All of the proceeds will be going to the charity of the winners choice. The five course Set Menu will be prepared by the Chefs at The Thatchers Arms and includes Venison Carpaccio, Home Smoked Mackerel, Sri Lankan Curry, Lemon Tart & Petit Fours. Vegetarian alternatives are available on request.
The evening is taking place after speculation on Twitter instigated by Dave Bailey & Neil Bowness that the very British product beer doesn’t get a fair share of TV coverage on shows like Saturday Kitchen. Wine is always matched with food when sometimes beer can do just as good or an even better job of pairing with the flavours in foods. Tim leapt to the defence of wine on Twitter agreeing to help host the evening convinced that wine is more often than not a much better partner to food. Adrian & Melissa, beer aficionados, both with books on the subject are keen to help beer receive it’s fair share of media coverage and will be choosing the beers to pair with the menu.
There are limited spaces available for the event, booking is essential.
Contact The Thatchers on 01787 227460 to book your seat.
Firstly I must apologise it’s been some time since I updated this blog. I have been writing, but mainly for the trade press, between that, running a pub, a busy festive period and many more excuses I simply haven’t got around to writing about the various beer news & antics at The Thatchers.
However we have a very exciting event coming up, and one I really want to let you know about, so without further ado, let me introduce Pete Brown, Beer writer of the Year 2012! As he is joining us for our Cider vs Wine & Food Matching evening on the 2nd of February we thought we’d take advantage and get him to tell you all about his latest book while he’s in the area.
‘Shakespeare’s Local‘, Pete’s 4th book, is a sociable look at the past 600 years from the rather illuminating viewpoint of one Southwark pub, The George, one of the few remaining coaching inns. Previously BBC Radio 4′s book of the week read by Tony Robinson.
Pete will be joining us to introduce his book and read a few excerpts himself. We will be providing some bar snacks & a pint for you to enjoy during the chat all for the modest sum of £5. So if you want to hear about the street urchins, hop merchants, beggars, robbers, prostitutes, watermen, authors and even hat makers who have made up the colourful band of locals at this Borough pub over the years join us at 4pm on Sunday 3rd February.
We look forward to seeing many of our colourful band of locals here!
Bookings advised 01787 227460
Saturday 20th October 7:30 for 8pm
The evening costs £30 and includes seven courses each paired with a different beer. Bookings are essential and we will be able to cater for any dietary requirements (including vegetarian/coeliac options) if mentioned when booking. Call 01787 227460 to book, places are limited.
Pont Neuf Chips with Maldon Salt & Parmesan Shavings
Tomato & Jalepeno Mexican Soup with Tortillas
Camden Brewery Wheat Beer
Lemon Thyme Responsibly Sourced Tiger Prawn Kebabs
Crouch Vale Citra
Tempura Sweet Peppers & Fried Green Tomatoes with Kiwi & Chilli Salsa
Dark Star Kiwi
Rich Lamb, Cannellini Bean & Root Vegetable Stew
Mauldons Blackberry Porter
Chocolate Orange Arctic Roll
Mill Green Tazmanian Hop Devil Black IPA
Mature Cheddar & Binham Blue Cheese
Dark Star Green Hopped IPA
Our October Beer Festival runs from Thursday 18th October to Sunday 21st. There is Live Music Thursday & Friday evening, a beer & food matching menu on Saturday Evening (bookings essential) & a Tutored Beer Tasting with Cask Marque on Sunday at 4pm.
The beers we have all been chosen to represent different hops from around the world, here’s the list*
- Adnams ‘Southwold Bitter’ 3.7% – Traditional Hops, English ’Fuggles & Goldings’
- Colchester Brewery ‘Porter’ 5.0% – Traditional Hops, English ’Fuggles & Goldings’
- Crouch Vale ‘Citra’ 3.9% – Single Hop, American ‘Citra’
- Crouch Vale ‘Brewers Gold’ 4.0% – Single Hop, German ‘Brewers Gold’
- Crouch Vale ‘Bravo’ 4.2% – Single Hop, American ‘Bravo’
- Crouch Vale ‘Summer Breeze’ 4.2% – Single Hop, English ‘Challenger’
- Dark Star ‘Kiwi’ 4.0% – Aged on Kiwi Fruit, New Zealand Hops ‘Nelson Sauvin & Moteuka’
- Dark Star ‘Green Hopped IPA’ 6.5% – Green Hops, TBC
- Green Jack ‘Hop Harvest’ 4.0% – Green Hops, English ’Suffolk hops’
- Mayfields ‘Minstrel’ 4.2% – Single Hop, English ‘Hereford Minstrel’
- Mill Green Brewery ”Tazmanian Hop Devil’ 6.0% – Black IPA, Australian Hops ‘Topaz & Galaxy’
- Mill Green Brewery ‘Chelsworth Seven’ 3.8% – Green Hops, English ‘Organic Chelsworth hops’
- Oakham ‘Citra’ 4.2% - Single Hop, American ‘Citra’
- Raw ‘Citra Black’ 4.4% - Single Hop, American ‘Citra’
- Red Fox ‘Equinox’ 4.4% – Hedgerow Hops, English ‘Essex Hops’
- Red Fox Brewery ‘Hunters Gold’ 3.9% – Single Hop, Czech ‘Aurora – Super Styrian Goldings’
- Wibblers ‘Hop Harvest’ 4.1% – Green Hops, English ‘Essex hops’
- Castlings Heath Cider ‘Apple Pie’ 4.5% – Proper Suffolk Cider
*Whilst we hope it is the final list, as with all beer festivals it is subject to change
After brewing five of the beers for our beer festival in May I had a kind invitation from Tom Norton of Mill Green Brewery to brew with him for our October festival. Being a ‘Hoptoberfest’ Tom decided to raid his hop store for us and use something he hadn’t brewed with yet, I jumped at the chance when he suggested brewing a Black IPA*. Mill Green was established in 2008, built next door to the White Horse at Edwardstone. The brewery, in keeping with the ethos of the Norton family, is exceptionally eco friendly, recently winning both ‘The Greenest Business Building’ and ‘Greenest Small Business’ in Suffolk at the regional business awards.
Dylan, chief brew dog for the day, and I arrived just as Tom was mashing in. The grist comprised mainly of their home grown organic pale malt with healthy doses of crystal and chocolate malt for colour and some roasted unmalted barley giving both body and a rich toasty flavour. This was going to be a strong 6% beer and with a full brew on the 4.5 barrel plant the mash tun was full to the brim with all that malt. Now everything takes time when you’re brewing but luckily there is plenty to see when you’re in the company of the Nortons…
John, Tom’s father, is also a keen cider maker, according to Tom it’s the simplicity of the product that his father enjoys. His Castling Heath ciders have been sold at the White Horse since before the Norton family even owned the pub. While we waited for the mash Tom took us up to his fathers’ house for a tour of the cider shed. Dylan had a good sniff around and Tom & I sampled some fantastic dry rum barrel aged cider and a rather delicious naturally sparkling elderflower and apple cider. Before we got too carried away we headed back to the brewery and transferred our jet black wort into the copper.
Tom had picked out two Australian hop varieties, Topaz and Galaxy from his store. Aiming for quite a bitter beer (60 IBU’s) a healthy amount of Topaz was added as the wort came up to the boil, and we saved a further 3kgs of each of the two hops for aroma at the end of the boil. With another wait on our hands we headed over the road to the Nortons newly acquired plot of woodland where the plan is to cultivate and, in time, coppice to fuel their wood burners and become more energy self sufficient. Dylan was in his element much preferring to gallivant round the woods rather than being sat by the door to the brewery watching supervising while we had all the fun!
I was lucky enough to be there on a day when the Sudbury Rotary club were having a brewery tour and got to listen to the fascinating story behind the building and ideals of the brewery and their two pubs. John talked enthusiastically about the small carbon footprint of the brewery, the local wood sourced for the build, the efficient sheep’s wool insulation, the lime plaster and the solar and wood fired energy sources which supply almost all of the energy required for brewing. They also farm 16 acres of barley and hop fields to supply the brewery, another eco feather in their already green cap! The green ethos, the local sourcing, the self sufficiency all hark bark to times in our past when things were more straightforward.
As the 20 strong brewery tour said goodbye to Dylan and strolled across to the pub to enjoy their lunch, we chucked the remaining hops in into the copper and filled the brewery with wonderful of aromas of marmalade, orange pith and passion fruit. With the hops steeping in the copper as the brew slowly transferred to the fermenting vessel there was time for a cheeky pint and some lunch for us. After a quick check on the brew, we pitched the yeast and headed off for one last excursion to the hop garden. The hop harvest had only been brought in a few weeks ago and although there were plenty of hop bines waiting to be cut back, there were only a few stray hops to sniff. The aroma of a fresh green hop is really intense; the Goldings in particular were exceptionally grassy. When I got home Sarah was insistent I had a new aftershave on, I can only assume she rather liked the smell of fresh Suffolk hops! Tom has just brewed a beer using these fresh green hops and you’ll be pleased to know that we’ve secured some for our festival. Having tasted some from the fermenting vessel I am really looking forward to the finished product, and I guess Sarah will like it too!
Another interesting piece of history I picked up from the Rotary’s tour was that brewing is not new to The White Horse. Production is thought to have ceased when previous brewer, Thomas Rice, died in 1839 whilst trying to retrieve a candlestick he’d dropped. He was reportedly suffocated by the excess CO2 from the brewing vessel he climbed in to. Around the same time as the poor brewers accident things were changing a lot on the Essex Suffolk borders. There was a large drain on the local population as many people emigrated, lured to countries like Australia with the promise of agricultural labouring work. This exodus of the workforce appears to have coincided with the decline of commercial hop growing, a very labour intensive practice, which ceased in the area altogether around 1906. I like to think that the fantastic Australian hops we’ve used may have been grown by descendants of the emigrated Suffolk hop growers who probably supplied the late Thomas Rice while he was still brewing at The White Horse in the mid 1800’s.
Our Tazmanian Hop Devil beer will be available, alongside the rest of our hoppy selection, at The Thatchers ‘Hoptoberfest’ from October 18th – 21st. We’ll have live music on Thursday and Friday evenings, beer & food matching on Saturday and a tutored beer tasting with Cask Marque on Sunday afternoon. We look forward to seeing you there!
* Whilst I love drinking it, I don’t like the oxymoronic name of this particular style of beer. However the other popular name for the style is Cascadian Black which indicates American hops, cascade in particular, which we didn’t use.
WIN BEER TOKENS!
We’ll be giving away a £20 voucher to spend at The Thatchers every day during the 2012 Chappel Beer Festival - Tuesday September 4th to Saturday September 8th.
Upload a photo of yourself holding our advert in the Beer Festival Programme and ‘tag’ The Thatchers Arms on Facebook or Twitter for your chance to win £20 to spend over our bar. There will be 1 prize given for the best photo tagged each day of the Chappel Festival.*
*Terms & Conditions
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