Not the greatest sleep again. The latter half is a mix of dozing and restless turning.
house I’m staying in has a hi-tech toilet. Though I’m too nervous to
engage any of its special functions. They look a bit scary.
warily completing my ablutions, I water the plant pots outside the
front door. The garden is much nicer than the usual US expanse of bland
lawn. It has plants and shit in it. Happy to keep it looking nice.
Mike picks me up at 10:30 and we drive over to the brewery in Weaverville.
For the moment it’s the brewery. Evidently another one is due to open
soon just a little further down the same alleyway. For the record,
Weaverville has a population of just 3,000. That’s fewer inhabitants
than Balderton, where I grew up. I can’t imagine Baldo ever having two
On the way over, Mike tells me has no desire
to get any bigger. His 7-barrel plant gives him total freedom to brew
what he wants too. If he grew much bigger, then he wouldn’t be able to
experiment as much as he does. With no debt and no investors, he’s in
complete control. I’m sure it’s a situation many brewers would envy.
watch Mike set up, mop the floor, arrange the furniture outside and
move the tardis into place. There’s nothing quite as relaxing as
watching someone else work while you have a beer in your hand.
Especially when it’s a full imperial pint. Not being a total pisshead, I
kick off the day with Maclay 60 bob.
A beer that
yesterday was confusing the hell out of the punters. Who expected a dark
Scotch Ale and were served a beer above the same hue as Pils. It’s a
lovely light refreshing beer. Perfect for breakfast.
After a while, Gabe brings tacos. Which form the solid part of our breakfast.
stuff is still spitting out of the speakers. Mike tells me he’s been
very impressed by The Damned. Not a band he’d known that well. I have to
agree with him. Re-listening to them in preparation for this trip, I
was pleasantly surprised by their musical prowess. Well put together
songs, just played at kamikaze pace. You have to love a band that
manages to get through a song in less than a minute.
Mike tells me about some frustrating customers:
come in and say: ‘Give me your IPA.’ When I say we don’t have one, they
turn around and walk out again. They drive all the way over here and
then don’t even bother having a beer.”
At 1 PM Mike
opens up and people start trickling in. The same scenario as yesterday: I
tell people the background of the beers and try to flog books. While
drinking from an imperial pint glass.
I didn’t quite get around every beer yesterday. Putting that right is my first task. Starting with the Whitbread SS Stout.
beers are going down well with the public. The Burton has been
particularly well received. Though I’m pleasantly surprised by the
popularity of the Mild. At least this one is the colour people expect a
Mild to be: a darkish brown.
A man around my age enters wearing a
dog collar. Judging by the shoes and trousers he’s wearing, I doubt very
much that he’s a vicar.
I have to agree with the
punters: the Burton is very pleasant. And rather scarily easy-drinking.
Getting totally plastered would be no problem. I’m ever more convinced
my Edwardian pub idea would fly. Assuming there are other pissheads out
The concept is simple. Find a genuine Edwardian
pub like, for example, the Adelphi or Garden Gate in Leeds, and have a
range of Edwardian beers. Maybe occasionally jumping to another decade –
say the 1930’s – for a week. Please get in touch if you have a suitable
pub and like the idea.
Mike seems to be shifting a
fair number of the four packs of historic beer styles. Lost and
Forgotten Beer Styles it’s called. As is my talk tomorrow. The pack
includes a little booklet which is a summary of that talk. An odd mix of
beer history and punk reminiscences.
I ask Mike what connections the projector for tomorrow’s talk has. “What projector? I plan using a whiteboard.”
that’s not great. “I’ve prepared a Powerpoint. I need a projector.”
Gabe puts out the word on social media to see if anyone has a projector
we can borrow. I hate all the technical stuff.
Before I know it, closing time is upon us again. Mike, Gabe and I go to a pizza place. Which also sells good beer. Only Gabe orders a pizza. Mike and I share a charcuterie plate, followed by sardines on toast.
outside with sausage evokes memories of lazy evenings in the Bavarian
sticks, nibbling meat and cheese. Interrupted by languorous draughts of
The light slips behind the hills and night creeps up to embrace us with its dark fingers.
Another good day.
Zebulon Artisan Ales
8 Merchants Alley,
All Souls Pizza
175 Clingman Ave,
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