Friday 3rd September 2010
Approximately forty of CAMRA members and their guests descended on the Bear Inn in Faversham from 18.30 onwards. Space was constrained inside this classic pub so we did some al-fresco drinking in the Market Place. Just before 19.00 we walked to the brewery and were met by Head Brewer David Holmes, along with Senior Brewer Stewart Tricker and James Purcell.
Whilst supping our first beer at the bar we had a short address from Tom Falcon, the company's Production and Distribution Director, during which he mentioned the scope of brewing at Faversham. Specifically the new range of seasonal beers from the main plant and he also touched upon the production from the micro-brewery which meant that the brewery turns out about sixty different brews every year.
We then visited the brewery's main plant with Stewart (see above) and that was followed by a visit to the micro-brewery. Here a surprise awaited. Two casks were on stillage for the members to sample.
The first was Hop Festival Ale (4.5% abv), which is a beer brewed with green (fresh) hops from this year's harvest and is (mostly) destined for the pubs in Faversham during the Hop Festival, which was taking place over the following two days.
The insatiable thirst of the visitors at the festival is such that one pub in town has to change casks every forty minutes. Although we tasted in the town a few times over the weekend, this was the best pint of it that we had.
Sitting next to it was a true special treat, Imperial Porter (10.4% abv). This was brewed last February. It was particularly sweet and the brewers said that they would change that, probably by introducing some late hops. We are still not sure of its final destination, there are still about six or seven casks left, but the brewery have intimated that it may go to a Winter Ales festival, so look out at Dover and/or Manchester.
After this pleasant interlude we visited the historic collection with its many old vehicles and fantastic array of pub signs.
After that, it was back to the main bar and we consumed some more of the brewery's core beers with a terrific buffet. A great night out and my heartfelt thanks go to Tom Falcon, David Holmes, Stuart Tricker and the whole team.