I just spent a couple of minutes trying to find a picture to illustrate this post, because that’s what you’re supposed to do on blogs – make it more multimedia and all that. But as soon as I started scanning potential pics, I realised this was one of those posts that’s best appreciated if we let your imagination do the work, so here goes...
Had a fantastic afternoon today in a Euston pub with Mitch Steele and Steve Wagner from California’s legendary Stone brewery. They’re over in the UK researching a book on IPA, and having a once in a lifetime type of trip (note to self: pretend you only have ten days left in Britain, but three months to plan what you do in those ten days. What would you do?)
We had a good chat and traded notes, and even drank some IPA. After an hour or so, it emerged that Mitch and Steve hadn’t eaten lunch. It was Steve’s round, so he volunteered to order some food when he went up to the bar.
Ten minutes later, the food arrived. Both Steve and Mitch looked perturbed – the classic look we all get when we’re in a foreign country and we’re almost certain something is wrong, but we don’t want to kick up the same stink we would at home for fear of offending someone or being shown up as a clueless tourist who just doesn’t get it.
Eventually Steve said “Um… this is not what I ordered. I ordered a vegetable platter.”
I looked at the sharing platter between us, and felt the slow, cold-water-creeping embarrassment we all feel when we’re in our own country and we realise something is wrong, but only because we’re seeing it through a foreigner’s eyes, and we don’t want to kick up a stink because we don’t want our guests to think of us as some clueless hick who just doesn’t get it.
Eventually I said, “Um… yes, this is what you ordered. It is the vegetable platter. Look, these are deep-fried onion rings in batter. Onions are a vegetable. These triangular things are deep-fried vegetable samosas. They’ve got vegetables in. These nobbly things are… they’re deep-fried mushrooms in breadcrumbs. Mushrooms are a vegetable. And so is bread. These things here are curly fries. They’re made from potato, which is a vegetable. You recognise taco chips of course – made of corn, and corn is another vegetable. And this last one here, this grey cylindrical thing… I’m not sure…. hang on, I’ll taste it… oh. These are onion bhajis. Deep-fried onion and potato. So you see, it is a vegetable platter.”
Steve and Mitch were both silent for a while. Then, eventually, Steve said, “I keep forgetting we’re not in Southern California any more.”
“Look,” I replied, “If I turn the plate around there’s a bit of garnish on this side, and there’s a little bit of that that’s green.”
Gingerly, Steve reached for a deep-fried breaded mushroom.
But even though I’d already had lunch, I was the only one of the three of us who went anywhere near the bhajis or the curly fries.
One of the US’s finest craft breweries has announced in the last few minutes that they are looking to launch a brewery in Europe.
Stone – whose beers include Arrogant Bastard and Ruination IPA – are constantly receiving requests to get more of their beers sold in Europe, and have decided the best way to do this – to ensure delivery of fresh, quality beer – is to open a brewery on this side of the pond.
Where, with whom and how is not yet clear. In a video announcement, the brewery’s Greg Koch explains that they’re floating it as an idea to see what response it has. If a brewer approaches them and says “here’s a brewery we no longer want – you can have it” that would make things very easy. But they haven’t yet decided what country to brew in, let alone what kind of site.
The whole thing is a tease – this announcement is a toe in the water to see what the response is. Clearly, they can’t just come here and build a brewery from scratch on their own.
I hope and believe that there will be a deluge of interested potential investors, partners, landlords – and I’ll certainly be at the front of the queue of loyal customers.
So if you fancy being part of what could be some of the best brewing news of the next couple of years – Greg wants to hear from you