I spent the weekend visiting breweries in Sheffield - The Crown Brewery at The Hillsborough Hotel, Abbeydale and Kelham Island.
All amazing places, and there's so much to learn from each one - thank you, Stuart at The Crown, for spending over an hour with me instead of cleaning your lines! But it was soon time to get back in the Big White Van and travel up to Cumbria, and I have to say that the view from our brewery beats any of those I saw over the weekend!
It's sunny here at the moment, not too cold for a change, and the daffodills are beginning to think about breaking out. We are keeping our eyes peeled for squirrels (love the reds, shoot the greys) and the first swallows will be arriving in a week or so.
Time to concoct a new beer ready for Cask Ale Week. I'm not too sure how successful these national initiatives are, but we certainly notice trade picking up at the moment and we're expecting a busy Easter, a good thing after the disastrous summer, rainy autum and snow-bound Christmas which saw so many of our customers really struggling. Well done to Jim Chapple and his 'Cumbria is Open' campaign, which featured in national CAMRA publications. We really need this boost after months of scare stories in the media.
Anyway, back to the beer. As always the recipe is the easy bit, and dreaming up a name/pump clip design is the tricky part. Our theme is Spring (natch) and there has to be a daff on the clip, maybe a bunny or two, perhaps an Easter egg, bit of Christian imagery to stop it all being too commercial, perhaps a sort of 'glass of beer at The Last Supper' theme.... you see how difficult it gets? No wonder our designer despairs of us.
Any ideas, anyone?