“You guys fancy curating your own bar with beers of your choice?”
…and that was that. We were curating a bar at Arundel’s Brewfest.
We like Arundel Brewery, they like the same beers that we like and they are trying their hardest to brew them. For a traditional brewery to suddenly knock out beers like Battle of the Oats, an IPA that is very close to nipping at the heels of the US big boys, well it takes ambition, talent and guts.
Curating a bar is a little trickier than you think. Firstly we had to pick the breweries we wanted to represent, then contact them out of the blue to explain what the deal was. Luckily, since starting Triple Hopped we’ve noticed just how friendly the beer world is and we’ve made a few friends in the industry.
Within a week we had secured our first choices, Burning Sky, Vault City and Track. Breweries that give not only a cross section of our own tastes but of beers styles too. An Impy Stout, a Fruited Sour and an IPA, perfect.
“But come on guys, where’s the DIPA?” No-one (but everyone) asked.
Well, in a moment of pure cheekiness, I emailed Stuart at Arundel to ask if there was a chance of collaborating to produce a double version of Battle of the Oats to be brewed specifically for the festival.
He said yes. That was easy!
The plan was to brew up a Triple Hopped Double Oat Cream DIPA. We picked the hops, we were told that they couldn’t get them, we picked the ABV, we were told that we were being a bit silly/optimistic.
A phone call just before the festival nearly broke my heart. There had been problems during fermentation meaning it couldn’t be canned and it was looking unlikely that it would even hit the taps at the festival. In fact, the night before the festival, we were told that it wasn’t happening.
Then Ryan sent me a photo of our bar menu…
What the what?! It made it!? It made it!
The result was a stunning 7.5% Double Oat Cream IPA that we were proud to slap our name on. Phew. I poured myself glass after glass. Thankfully there was no need to make excuses or talk up a mediocre beer. It really was a belter, they did a great job and I hope that one day it gets re-brewed and you all get to try it.
Now, we weren’t the only ones asked to flex our beer muscles, there were 8 bars in total with 5 of them curated by bloggers, instagrammers and all round good eggs in the scene bringing their favourite beers for everyone to enjoy. And enjoy we did. It was like your dream pub.
It’s a cliche to say it but good beer is nothing without good people to drink it with. This is where beer festivals shine. Putting faces to online names or just chatting about “what’s in your glass?” to a total stranger is what it’s all about. To say the atmosphere was welcoming is an understatement. Hugs and after-parties, chip spice and bottleshares. Beer festivals are where anecdotes are born.
Oh, there was music too. Same time next year?