Refectory Launch and Craft Beer Calling

There has been so much going on here this week as we plough through an ever increasing pile of spreadsheets, elevation drawings, proposals, contractor schedules and programs and most recently a rather helpful Gantt chart.  A couple of months ago we really didn't know a thing about the HSE's regulations around CDM or The Party Wall Act, or even some of the Building Control determinations that could affect our set up.  There are some rather significant decisions to make, and a few big conversations to have on Monday morning with two of the contractors whose programmes are scheduled to last the longest (and threaten to edge us over the 30 day limit and into expensive CDM notifiable status).  Each day this week has been an intense mix of elation as we solve difficult puzzles or gain answers to complex questions, and a sense of being completely overwhelmed by the scale of our undertaking.  Dwelling in the mystery of known unknowns and unknown unknowns requires seemingly endless patience and confidence, and a regular reminder that all of this work and preparation is being undertaken in order that we get as much of our set up as right as we can.  We aren't naive enough to expect anything to be easier once we're up and running, but my goodness we can't wait to be working a little more with our hands!

With the four of us finishing each day's work with our heads buzzing with ideas, it's a blessing that there's so much on the beer calendar in the north to look forward to.  Next weekend promises to offer us quite a release with exciting events in both Leeds and Newcastle.

Northern Monk Brew Co have been working away in a very charming part of Leeds, a short distance south west of the train station, to get their wonderful three storey building up to spec, and fully up and running.  On Friday evening at 5pm we'll be there raising a glass to celebrate the launch of their Refectory, which features an impressive 12 house taps and 8 guest taps!  I'll then be taking my leave and heading up to Newcastle for a weekend of sour beers and new experiences and old favourites at Craft Beer Calling.  The Free Trade Inn (an essential stop for any beer enthusiast in Newcastle) and Bacchus (a glorious bar that does a truly great job of serving a wide cross section of beer lovers) are teaming up for a sour beer tap takeover which features 14 or so beers across their two bars.  I'll be stopping by both to catch the vibe and enjoy a few measures of the sour stuff to round off the evening.

Saturday and Sunday are devoted to Craft Beer Calling, where I'll be hanging out and enjoying the surroundings of The Boiler Room (Robert Stephenson's old warehouse) as I sample beer from some of the North East's best breweries as well as offerings from breweries near (such as Five Points, Redchurch, and Manchester's gypsy brewery IMBH) and far (I'm especially excited to see what Yeastie Boys bring over from New Zealand and Anderson Valley bring from the US).

Next weekend, with all the excitement and enjoyment that it will have to offer as we toast NMBCo's launch and enjoy the vibrant scene up in Newcastle, is bound to serve as yet another reminder for why all the hard work we're doing at the moment is going to be worth it.

In case you're wondering, the photo is as close as I could get (with every photo of the actual ship having been protected by copyright) to the container ship that's currently bobbing along on its way to the UK with our cellar tanks.  Pretty exciting eh?


Paul Jones