Pubpaper 863 – Ram, Smash and Grab!

Posted: 4th July 2016 by santobugtio in Pub Paper, Writing

13528652_10154432727490466_8949499258053449650_nSometimes topics just give you a great headline and this week is one of those set of topics.   I’ll start with the new beer from Vocation Brewery, Smash and Grab, an 8.5% Double IPA hop bomb.  Launched on Friday night at a select number of venues in Hebden Bridge (Old Gate), Halifax (Victorian Craft Beer Cafe), Manchester, Leeds, London and Bristol, sale elsewhere was embargoed until Saturday.   Local venues who had this beer in stock included the Market Tavern and Cross Keys, Siddal.  The beer was launched in cask, keg and can at the launch venues with other locations mixing cask and keg according to pub taste. The canned beer should be in independent beer shops by the time you read this.  I popped down to the Cross Keys to try this on Saturday lunch and can only describe this as a dangerously moorish beer that hides its 8.5% roots.  Sure you can taste it is strong, but it is very well balanced with the different hops taking a few sips to build up the full taste.  Then it settles down nicely into a very very drinkable beer, just flowing down the throat and inviting you to have another, something you might regret a few down the line.  If you see this then try a half or a pint if you can to see what the beer is like, you won’t be disappointed.  John and the team are turning out great beer after great beer and as long as they do, I’ll keep drinking them.  It shows how popular they are with landlords and drinkers when you see one or two of theirs on the bar, with two more on the coming soon board waiting in the cellar repeatedly.

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Ramfest 2016 Crowd

Next I’ll start with a lyric from REM “Shiny Happy People holding hands”.  For once I didn’t mention the Ramfest Music Festival I help organise in this column, there was just too much news from across the district.   This year’s festival, based at Southowram Cricket Club was a shift change as we implemented a no brought in drink policy after some trouble last year.  In the end the festival was a fantastic community event, full of families relaxing or dancing, kids running around and playing in safe environment, groups of friends drinking the day away, with an army of volunteers keeping it all going.  Steady queues at the gates, bar and food vendors disproved the naysayers that said people wouldn’t come. Hundreds of people joining the Shiny Happy People of the aforementioned song in spirit, a great atmosphere overall with 8 fantastic bands, culminating in the traditional ‘Rams way we end any event, Bat out of Hell by Meatloaf blasting out of the ever impressive sound system and people who shouldn’t be taking their shirt off doing so, including myself.  This is what life is about, we all enjoy good beer, tasty food, great times with friends and the best music.  There are now dozens of local music festivals running from June to September, many like Ramfest raising money for charity, helping to raise interest and funds to keep our sports clubs going.  Only the week before Brodstock sold out of tickets and closed their gates.  People love a good day out and the mix of live music and decently priced beer can only help.

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Rugosa at last years Canal Festival

Coming soon is the Brighouse Canal and Music Festival on the 20th-21st August, complete with street market, bar and vintage vehicles.   But I’ll concentrate on the music, my good friend Jason Fieldhouse who is more often found at the Commercial / Railway behind the bar, is organising the main stage near the Waterfront Lodge.  After a great line up last year, there is the same this year from my sneak preview of the list, names including The Rainey Street Band, Eye of Elena (who put on a great show at Ramfest), Ben Blue Waters, Rugosa, Nervous ‘Orse and the Shabby Cats over the two days.  These events like music festivals at our sports clubs are a great community event which draws people to the surrounding pubs, the Market Tavern being in the perfect location for this stage with some great beers no doubt, while other stages in the town benefit pubs like the Black Bull and George Hotel.   You can’t view things like this in isolation, the key to pubs trade is footfall past the venue, the more people who see you more chance you have to gaining a new customer.   The 1000 people leaving a festival might fancy another beer, not pass on that route normally and like the look of one of our licensed venue.   The whole thing is an ecosystem which feed itself, pubs and bar related businesses sponsoring events, gaining customers in return, becoming a self perpetuating machine.  The common element is the beer and we all love that don’t we.