The other week I was heading through Borough Market, on my way to Utobeer, when I spotted a temporary stall with some beer to taste.
It was manned by one of the brewers from the Tunnel Brewery, “Warwickshire’s newest microbrewery”, and they had around seven or eight of their products available to sample and buy, with a good discount on buying five or more bottles. From looking at their their website, they seem to have a strategy of selling direct to the punter via farmer’s markets.
I tried a couple, and as they were drinkable, went and bought five different bottles. This is four more bottles than I’d probably have bought if they’d been sitting on the shelves of Utobeer, all thanks to the fact that there was a bloke there, selling them. Oh, and the fact they had an exciting range, taking in traditional ales of all colours as well as lagers and wheatbeers.
Selling at markets therefore seems a good idea – as well as shifting more stock to the interested punters, they seemed to be doing a good job of getting passers-by to stop and try some. I can imagine this working even better in smaller farmers’ markets.
We’ve since tried three of the haul, and they’re very good. Well, the “Jean Cloudy Van Damme” Belgian Wit didn’t appeal to my personal tastes, but Bailey liked it. The Munich Style lager has a light golden colour, and excellent effervescence. Some malt in the mouth, but the overwhelming flavour is crisp, minty hops. Fruity and buttery notes reminded us more of a koelsch than a Munich lager, but it’s very tasty anyway.
My favourite was the Linda Lear “Dark Bitter” – I don’t know why it’s called dark, as it’s a golden-copper colour – but it’s certainly bitter. The initial dry and grassy taste didn’t bode well, but the flavours developed beautifully in the mouth; caramelly malt and flowery hops that linger in the mouth long after the beer has gone. It’s only 3.7% too.