“What time is the brewery thing tomorrow” The Boss shouts across our campsite late night arrival area to the youngest Jellybean. “Daaaaad!!!..He didn’t know about it” came the reply as they both looked at James (Boyfriend) who now knows tomorrow’s surprise. Ooops.
The last time the four of us did a brewery tour three of us departed The Hogs Back brewery in Farnham a little tipsy, or was it utterly bladdered, wasted, bobbinsed, smashed, we can’t recall.
Destination Ringwood, Jellybean driving by virtue of having the least alcoholic tendencies amongst us. As we approach the town we spot a pram rolling along the pavement unattended except for the young passenger, and we haven’t had a drink yet!! Assessing the situation we see a lady with children busily looking in a shop window as their baby’s pram freewheels solo past two further shops down a dropped kerb and into the busy high street. Car horn is now fully deployed to raise attention and we screech to a halt as a shopkeeper rushes out to retrieve the pram now past the centre of the road. The Mother seemed more embarrassed than thankful, not sure Father will ever get to know about it.
We check in for our 3pm Ringwood brewery tour early and tuck into a locally made Pork Pie made with their beer while we wait… blimin’ good it was too. Our fellow ‘tour-ees’ seem a friendly bunch, including an Austrian chap seemingly driving a mobility scooter designed by Fred Flintstone from ply-wood, a skateboard and two car batteries just balanced on top. We are invited to sample ‘the product’ while we await the stragglers, first one ‘downed’ swiftly as our host for the day calls out “Don’t be shy, there’s more where that came from”. We stop being shy.
Our host, John, was a gem, knowledgeable, humerous and engaging. A condensed history of beer was provided, it turns out beer is a miracle of nature and accident, we love a good miracle. The more recent creation of the “micro-brewery” followed, it turns out that “Terry Jones” of Monty Python fame and some pals invented the process and coined the phrase “micro” in response to the poor tasting ‘pasteurised’ beers they were being served at their local. Turned out that they only had plans to brew good beer for their own consumption, then one of the ‘pals’ responded to a job advertisement in Ringwood and the UK’s second micro-brewery was set up to serve the general public. In thanks to Terry Jones please hail “Blessed are the Beermakers”.
The physical tour of the brewery followed the start to finish process. If you haven’t been on a brewery tour yet, you really should. Liking the taste of beer is not compulsory, but it certainly helps, as the tour is worth the money. If you do like beer, you are likely to consume the entry fee in your ‘research’ capacity alone.
Back at the bar we were encouraged, quite easily you may imagine, to sample each product made by the company. Not wishing to insult our host we completed this task before being invited to share our pump pulling skills behind the bar. The world became a much happier place for a while.
On our departure we purchased some sausages for our tea (evening meal) infused with, yes… Ringwood beer. Jellybean went into Taxi driver mode reminding us there would be no emergency comfort breaks or other accidents messing up her car. Safely delivered back to the campsite we immediately formed a disorderly queue at the water closet.
The sausages? …. blimin’ good they were too.