A Special Brew

soddenham-after-mirth4As the evenings grew longer and the bony fingers of the surrounding trees grasped in vain to hold on to the last, sad remnants of their once green finery, much activity has occurred in our little village, especially at our local pub.

Bernie and Madge Tooley
Bernie and Madge Tooley

Based upon a recipe Bernie found taped to the bottom of an old barrel in the cellar, the Witches Brew has been a staple of our festivities, but each year, a new variation is created for a particular event. This year, it is Christmas’ turn to inspire our brewers, and last night they introduced ‘After Mirth’ to an eager throng of revellers at the start of our seasonal festivities.

Once the beacon had been lit and prayers and thoughts offered to absent friends, (led by Ellis Clacker who gave a marvellous speech at the start of the festivities) those with small children or weak constitutions made their way back to their homes and the rest headed to The Teat to get their hands on a bottle of the new brew, which Madge and Bernie had been distributing sample ‘shots’ of earlier on.

Anmer Pardow
Anmer Pardow

When asked about the inspiration behind the brew, Anmer told me that there “was an intention to capture something of Christmases long gone; a nostalgic brew that conjured images of mistletoe and holly in candlelight, rather than gaudy plastic baubles and electric lights that are today’s decorations. The familiar sensations of the local countryside with deep aromas of barley, damp straw and distant ordure on the breeze, laced with an exciting touch of long travelled precious spices and the ever present metallic tang of ground lichen.”

Bernard Drudge
Bernard Drudge

Locals were eager to experience the latest brew (something that is widely anticipated around here!) and it appears that first impressions are reassuringly good. Bernard Drudge (of close harmony outfit barbershop The Thermostat Four, no less!) was ready to give his highly regarded (and sometimes controversial) opinion: “This is clearly a superior beer, full flavoured and with that extra punch one expects from a Witches Brew, this could very well be a classic. Time will tell.”

soddenham-foxy-Mulgrew
Brian ‘Foxy’ Mulgrew

Brian ‘Foxy’ Mulgrew (who did a stirling job of playing Santa again this year) unfortunately was too incoherent to understand but was very impressed judging by the regularity of his trips to the bar! There were toasts raised to Malcolm Bannerman, the undisputed star of this years Cricketball season, and a rather sarcastic (but good humoured) one raised to the Soddenham Archeologists and Sucrologists, for their extraordinary reporting of the Soddenham Barrow during the autumn.

Unwin S. Schrieber
Unwin S. Schrieber

There were many others celebrating at The Teat and a splendid time was had by all. Another local character, Unwin S. Schrieber made some comparisons of the new brew to that of another well remembered favourite: “After Mirth has all the rich characteristics that the connoisseur has come to expect from the Witches Brew team, and has some subtle similarities with Polly’s Pottage that was last made in 1992. The straw… there is a dampness to the straw that reflects this years weather during the harvest – I can’t say for certain, but I believe that this years weather is very similar to that of ’92, although I will have to check that in Reeve’s Almanac in the morning.”
soddenham-pollys-pottage soddenham-after-mirth-label soddenham brew label

Of course, the regular Witches Brew is always available by the bottle and on tap during the festive season… why not come and join us?

soddenham-witches-teat
The Teat all decked out for Christmas

 

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2 thoughts on “A Special Brew

  1. A fine sounding brew indeed, well done Mr Pardow as you have whetted my appetite to sample your delicious creation. It’s a shame I can’t make it to Soddenham for your festivities this year. Nice to read a quote from Uncle Unwin, he sounds positively upbeat at the moment. I just hope that he’s given up on the Toby jug nonsense. All the best Les.

  2. Ah, I’m afraid Unwin insisted upon decanting his ‘After Mirth’ into a rather elaborate ‘Lech Wałęsa’ Toby jug and shouting ‘Solidarność!’ after each swig. Happily for everyone though, he settled back into his usual Brew and remained much more conversational afterwards. He continues to bring those bloody Toby jugs to the Teat though – Madge is more frustrated than Bernie but as usual he seems to be able to keep everything ticking along. Unwin is ok though, just rather insistent that everyone pays homage to whoever is portrayed on his jug each night. It will pass, it always does.

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