Here’s my finished (all bar a coat of varnish) cratch mullion. True to form the masking tape had bled here and there because of the grain of the wood, but nothing a tiny dab of white with an artists brush wouldn’t cover. I’ll fix it to the boat next time we’re there, then you’ll be able to recognise us when you see us coming.
Now then, this hidden gem. Yesterday we went to Offenham (near Evesham) on the Avon to join in my big bruvver’s 80th birthday bash. Little did we know he had arranged a treat for a group of us in between lunch and the afternoon festivities he took us for a walk down his road, Boat Lane, which as you might guess leads to the river. Only about a hundred and fifty yards from his house he led us into the little Boat Lane (micro) Brewery where the proprietors were ready to welcome us with a tasting session and a tour. Well what a cracker it is! The owner/brewer is a a true artist with the recipes and the brewing process is meticulously carried out to produce some quite outstanding and interesting beers. I suppose these days you would refer to their stuff as Craft beers. On sampling one of two draft beers on offer I was pleased that I was right when I suggested it was made with cascade hops. Anything made with cascade is invariably delicious to me, even if it is an American hop. Due to issues of scale, they sell chiefly in bottles at the moment, but they do have a small amount of draft beer too. They are already selling all they can make and over the next year or two the scale is bound to grow. As well as superb bitters and stouts, they do a range of really nice beers and stouts with added fruit flavours, - oranges, mango, raspberry, ooh I can’t remember the rest but all really good (hic). We came away with a few bottles of the Offenham Orange.
One thing I learned during the tour was how HMRC calculates the alcohol duty the brewer needs to pay. I imagined that they came round with the old hydrometer to measure the specific gravity of the beer. That would of course indicate the alcoholic strength but not of course measure the quantity being made. What in fact they do is require the malt sellers to record how much malt ( and presumably other sugar producing grains) is supplied to the brewer then apply a calculation to estimate how much alcohol that would make. Simple really.
Boat lane brewery is open to the public on most days and if you moor your boat at the Bridge Inn (where perversely there is no bridge, but an old chain ferry) on the Avon it’s only a couple of minutes walk. Highly recommended. You can find them on facebook where a number of customers rave about their wares.
While you’re in Offenham take a stroll down the main street past the thatched cottages and marvel at the village maypole, which at 64 feet is the tallest in England. It is painted nearly as nicely as Herbie’s new cratch front.