Thursday 30 March 2017

Coventry - who knew?

I know of Coventry because they used to have a football team that was in the First Division (pre Premier League for those under a certain age), and I also remember watching them famously beat Spurs in the 1987 FA Cup. I also know that the city suffered terrible damage during WWII. And, I know it's sort of where the Midlands starts for a Southerner. That's about it, the sum total of my knowledge of Coventry. Then I found out they had a brewery.....
Now, I am assume there must be more than one brewery in Coventry and a quick scan of Google appears to indicate that this is the case, however, one brewery in particular seemed to me to be making headlines - Twisted Barrel. These guys are but three years old, starting out small as many do, then finding that people liked what they were brewing, decided to make the decision to go commercial. More success followed which in turn led them to FarGo Village which is about 20 mins walk from the train station (maybe a bit more if using Google Maps). The brewery and tap house sit comfortably amongst an eclectic collection of shops and cafes and on a spring day the whole place had a pleasant and relaxed vibe about it.
On this journey of discovery I was accompanied by my youngest brother, Brian, who lives in the beer desert that is Milton Keynes, also where my parents live. So, having left my sleeping teen son in the safe hands of his grandparents we made the short 25 min train journey to Coventry, a first for both of us. We were both impressed with what we saw inside and outside of the brewery and tap house and despite us arriving shortly after the noon opening, we were not the first ones in there. Already there were a few punters, plus a tasting session taking place at the back amongst the lovely shiny tanks.
We started off with a wheat beer, perfect after the journey - The Great Went at 4% was light and refreshing with a light banana nose, which avoided the slight cloyingness that this style of beer sometime exhibits. At this point we were joined by @ThaBearded1 lover of beards, bunnies, bikes & beer and also just happens to work with the guys at Twisted Barrel. Full Disclaimer - He's a lovely chap! We shared a few beers before he had to leave to go to a tap take over and new bar launch in Stony Stratford, Milton Keynes (things are looking up) from the guys as The Biergarten in Wolverton. One of which was Beast of a Midlands Mild, which reminded me of an old fashioned vanilla choc ice coming in at 3.5%. While I was contemplating trying to find somewhere to purchase a choc ice, we were joined by another beery person - @TheAleLady who was out with her mother after all it was Mother's Day weekend, during which time another two beers were consumed (Saison From Another Place and Hmmmm) before Brian and I decided we needed to pay Beer Gonzo a visit.
A short taxi ride past the station and we find ourselves in a rather large bottle shop with a very nice modern tap room at the back, and just look at those taps! Again, I had heard quite a bit about these guys so although we only had an hour before getting our train back to Milton Keynes we felt it was definitely worth the effort. First beer up was on the recommendation of aforementioned Bearded One (his real name is Karl, but, hey who uses real names these days??) - Cuvee Sofie by Alvinne a wild sour that comes in at 8% was simply divine, as good as Mariage Parfait (which I rate very highly), or, perhaps even better. As you can see there are serious ABVs available so 1/3 pints were the order of the day, plus with time constraints it meant we could sample a couple more - I went for Common Grounds from Magic Rock, followed by Evil Twin's Citrus Sunshine (which as it happened weren't that strong anyway, what was I thinking??)
My only regret of the day was that we simply did not spend enough time in either venue, and, trust me, we could have spent plenty of time in both. It seems Coventry and the Midlands in general are stepping up in terms of variety of beers to drink and venues to enjoy them in. Go visit, you won't regret it, and, as ever another beery trip reinforced my opinion that beer people are good people, cheers all!

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