Wednesday, 17 April 2019

I like the way you murk it

Sun is shining, weather is sweet; well, it was a couple of weekends ago, when we made the trip to the charming town of Cheltenham. A town boasting some of the best Regency architecture in England (I made the Ewing hang around a council car park, while I took pictures of the concrete) it's also home of cult brewery Deya. Found, like all good breweries, tucked away on a quiet trading estate and handily near to Cheltenham Spa railway station.

You may also notice the discombobulating nature of the pictures, which veer from night to day and back again through this post. Which, I think, artfully adds to the feeling of an afternoon drinking session that extends into the night. Looking back through my camera roll when I came to write about our evening, it's more of a wonder I had any photos that I could use. Although I did have several of the Ewing going for a wee in the bushes (sadly, now deleted, although maybe for the best) there is no privacy these days - TE.

Deya are best known for their hazy beers, which lean toward the New England style, rather than the piney astringency of the West coast IPAs. They describe them on the website as 'soft, hoppy beers' and, if you are into your murk, then this is the place to be. Although, as you can see from the menu 'other liquids' are available.

Things started very demurely, in shirt sleeves drinking a pint of Steady Rolling Man, their flagship hazy pale ale weighing in at 5.2 per cent, this is becoming a benchmark of all hazy pale ales. The Ewing had a pint of Just a Glimmer, their session pale ale at a more modest 4 per cent and super easy to drink in the sunshine.

I won't bore you with the minutiae of every beer we tasted (I think we got through them all, bar the Tappy Pils, despite it being lager weather) but, if you're not on Untappd, here are a few buzz words to give you the general idea; hop yogurt, pineapple, mango, murky, hop bomb, hazy, tropical, juicy banger etc. etc.

Food come in the form of a roster of rotating food vendors which, on our visit were Mission Pizza - wood-fired pizza slingers who specialise in vegetarian and vegan pies. 

While I'm not absolutely sure I want to give up my mozzarella for cashew nut cheese any time soon, I'm a big fan of a meatless pizza (or any kind of pizza in all honesty) and I was very excited by their menu which featured the 2000s supermarket classic of spinach and ricotta, pimped up with pine nuts and truffle oil; and a spicy choice with chilli oil, chilli flakes and jalapenos.

But in the end the choice was a no-brainer - the wild garlic leaves, wild garlic pesto and nettles with caramelised onion and mozzarella cheese. This was an excellent pizza with a perfectly puffy, chewy crust, bitter greens and sweet onion. My only criticism was it was perhaps a little too sweet. Some of the aforementioned chilli flakes or a slick of spicy oil wouldn't have gone amiss. 

After our pizza we moved on to a crisp chaser - the delicious Torres Iberico ham flavour - with another pint of murk, this time the Into the haze IPA. This was followed by the 'last beer' of the night; the Old Evil Spirit, a roasty, malty imperial stout with a healthy dollop of dark fruits and cocoa.

Unfortunately they only served this in halves and not thirds. Normally I'd say that but not really mean it, but on this occasion an eleven per center, that slipped down with nary a hint of booze, probably signified the beginning of the end.

Of course, that wasn't the end of things. On returning to the bar to buy some cans to take home the Ewing got coerced into buying another round of delicious DIPAS, plus yet more crisps, this time the black truffle flavour.  Funky and deep and a little bit salty; and the crisps were pretty good too.

I'm not entirely sure what happened on the way back but I know it involved going to the kebab shop; getting stuck in the kebab shop; buying a lighter; losing a lighter, losing my earphones (found the next morning with the help of Toby the three-legged dog TE); getting caught short; dancing in the street (in my Beavertown beanie, no less) and, as the pièce de résistance, getting lost in the garden of a nursing home.

Thankfully we did make it back, although the saddest part of the whole trip came on waking up at the hotel the morning after. After spending a few minutes wondering where I was and wondering if I would ever feel ok again, I realised that the hard won kebab that I had carefully carried home remained uneaten. On the plus side some enormously fragile glassware, see the top of the picture, we had bought along with the beer was still somehow intact.

Of course, missing out on my bedtime snack made popping next door for the all you can eat Harvester breakfast (with an extra rump steak and an endless stack of buttered crumpets with Marmite) even more welcome.

All in all a perfect weekend and perfect training for our imminent trip Down Under, where the Ewing and I are going to hit the Inner West beer crawl, as we did on our last visit two years ago. Only this time I hope to actually remember enough of it to be able to write it all up on here. Wish me luck....

No comments:

Post a Comment