09 Jul 2012 BY Adrian Tierney-Jones
So come and open the Guildford Beer Festival I was asked and so I did and was snapped for the local journal, hair slicked back with nature’s Brylcreem, rain in other words. And before this I drank in a town I’d never been to before going on to enjoy the festival, which is now in its third year.
By the Wey, within earshot of the tarmac thunder of the A3, watching the rain drop down, I spent a restful afternoon in the Rowbarge, drinking Ascot Ales’ Posh Pooch, a pleasing old school bitter. And then to the festival I went, at the cricket club, green and flat and grandstanded. Beer festivals I don’t visit that much these days, but this one at Guildford I thoroughly enjoyed and made several new beer friends, including Dorking Brewery’s Red India Ale and their rich, grainy mild called Black, as well as WJ King’s Sussex Downs Ale.
‘Come and meet Jim’ I was then told and in the marquee where the beers flowed there was Jim Taylor with the sign Little Beer Corporation behind him. There were bottles on a table, chunky, low slung chaps, similar to the ones I have seen from Italian craft breweries (and that’s the country they come from), an IPA, a Californian Common, a Pale Ale with chestnuts, while coming soon the promise of an eight-week matured Pilsner (clean modern branding on the labels helped as well).
Talking with Jim, tasting the beer and burbling with excitement as I connected with the IPA (all done in cahoots with Columbus, Chinook and Cascade), a heady, aromatic, romantic brew (with its roots perhaps in East Coast IPA rather than West Coast?). Meanwhile the Californian Common soothed and smoothed its way down my throat.
‘I’m a nano-brewer,’ said Jim. I’ve heard of them in the US, so is this the first British one? Brewing is not Jim’s day job, he works for SAB-Miller, who are very understanding, and he has a desire to produce beers in these lovely, lyrical bottles, individual beers, experimental beers, beers that please.
That’s not all — there is the business model. ‘We’re looking to build up the business as a Cooperative, at the moment the business is a ltd co, but come Christmas we’ll swap over to a Cooperative,’ he told me in between dealing with queries from intrigued punters, one of whom asked if he was local. Jim was able to point and say with a smile ‘about a mile away’.
I like what Jim is doing and I like his business model, but because I got thrown out of Economics O-Level and am officially a dunce when it comes to explaining business I would suggest that if you want to know what Jim plans to do (and of course buy his delicious beers) I would recommend going over to www.littlebeer.co.uk and find out all about this brilliant nano-brewing lark.
Reproduced from Adrian Tierney-Jones Blog: http://maltworms.blogspot.co.uk/