It was indeed what the title suggests. Never have I been more gobsmacked!
I was expecting a dozen or so “woolly jumpers” and a lecture on malted barley and hops.
What I got was 300+ people gathered on a chilly November evening to drink beer, talk about beer, drink beer, eat, check out the shop, drink beer…
There was a “tour” which involved piling into the brewing hall for a “talk” by Tim Coombes, one of the founders of the brewery. There was more beer available for those that had forgotten to top up their pints before entering. He talked about the history of beer and the business, about the micro-breweries, the regionals and the multi-nationals, about the rise and fall of keg beer in the 70’s-90’s and the fall and rise of real ale since then. He mentioned the tragic demise of Brakespears and Courage/S&N. He was witty and knowledgeable.
He told me (in the bar afterwards) that they get 700-900 people there on a summer evening!
As a driver, my entry was only £5 for which I got two beer vouchers and a free glass. The vouchers can be swapped for ale or soft drinks.
Normal entry is £10 with five (!) beer vouchers and free glass.
I’ll be back…