A little known gem not too far away from the centre of Crewe Offbeat Brewery is a micro-brewery just off-set from the main road. Opening once a month, on Thomas Street, near the Cumberland Sports ground, the brewery throws a main event every August called the Firsty Friday Festival.
The festival runs over the course of a weekend started at 12noon on the Friday and ending on the Sunday at 5pm – or whenever the drinks run dry – as the case was in 2013. Sadly this year the weather wasn’t quite willing to give in and the Friday and Saturday were hit by wet spells.
Nevertheless the keen drinkers flocked towards the festival and we went on the Friday night both units – the festival is effectively run from garages – were full with people with more drinkers – and the bands (!) taking cover under gazebos.
So what do you do?
It may seem like a silly question but for some of us, myself included, our drinking education starts from a young age. When we got there we paid out £3.50 entry fee – which seemed relatively good for a micro-brewery – and received our complimentary glass – which for some reason I felt like taking 1001 pictures of throughout my night.
You’re then posed with the idea of tokens, basically we had to buy tokens in order to pay for our drinks. We thought starting with five (for £2) would be a good idea, test the water (or beer) and see where we went on from there. In fact we then decided that 25 tokens (for a tenner) would be a much better idea – no worries, we just used our first set and went to top up – clever.
Drink all the beer!
Well actually drink responsibly – it had to be said in a post about a brewery – but there was a good enough selection – definitely a something for everyone type of occasion, whether your like your drinks fruity or dark there was something for you – or if like me – you occasionally just pick a beer off the pump artwork.
That was definitely the case when I tried my underdog of the day, from the Tiny Rebel Brewery, Zool. It had cool artwork and a guy on their logo – it stood out from the crowd which is definitely one way to get yourself noticed. Another shout out for standing out went to Blark Perle – a dark drink which on our list was described as coffee-like – it was – we had mixed feelings but it made us part with our tokens.
I found myself repeatedly flocking back to the Offbeat selection though – I don’t know if it was home pride coming through but I found the fact that they’re brewed in Crewe to be somewhat of a pull. Of course though, other unusual concoctions caught my eye, from Plum Porter – what I can only describe is a plum/port/beer combination and La Tene – it tasted like pineapples!
It’s a break from the norm
Since it only opens once a month – the first[y] Friday of each month – if you didn’t get the pun before, you do now – it’s a break from the norm. Whilst you may be able to find Offbeat drinks on the taps at your local – or even further afield as the talk of a brewery in Crewe spreads across the pubs – it’s always good to go and support them directly – whatever the weather.
I found it was definitely a break from the standard pubs that we would haunt – a much welcomed change and something that we wouldn’t normally do – it’s easy to pick a beer at the age of 18 and stick with it forever. Trying a variety of different drinks made it a unique experience, especially as we have cheap European lager thrust at us in most pubs and clubs.
So if you’re in Crewe on the first Friday of any month I’d definitely suggest that you consider giving Offbeat a visit. If not just to sample a few drinks and see all the barrels that the hand-pumped drinks come from – I found that another interesting experience in itself.
Do you have a local brewery you visit? Did you go to the Firsty Friday Festival? Comment in the box below