Posts Tagged ‘the foundry’

Canterbury

Canterbury is just two hours by train from London. A welcome respite from the busy streets of the English capital. Though famous, Canterbury is a fairly small city. The fame is because of the huge cathedral, the seat of the Church of England that dominates the skyline from wherever you look. It is an old city, important to the Saxons, Romans, Normans and the English. Canterbury is located in Kent, a name any beer lover in the world should recognize because of the abundance of hops. It has also, just as Holland, gone through an amazing rise of small breweries in just a few years.

And what did we do in Canterbury? We went to a tiny brewery (in actual square feet) called the Canterbury Brewers and its brewpub the Foundry. Canterbury has a converted railroad shed that is now a food market called the Good’s Shed, that has an excellent bottle shop called, yes, The Bottle Shop. Lastly I want to talk a little about the dominance of the Shepherd Neame brewery that owns many pubs across Kent.

Canterbury Brewers / Foundry

I said tiny and if you see the two story building you think my sense of space was as murky as a New England IPA. But that’s the restaurant and bar. I met up with owner/brewer Jon who led me into the brewery. We walked through the entire space which was about four steps. The rest if full of brewing equipment. The production is still quite high. Most of stays in the building where it flows to their own taps. You can get other beers here, even Heineken, but the mainstay is their own stuff. And from normal taps, casks and even nitro. As per usual in a brewpub you can get a flight of some of their beers in a specific range (hops, malts, specialty). The styles are a hybrid of very old English styles like bitters but also more modern American ones like tropical IPA’s.

And the food… as expected almost this is fine. Maybe the usual fair you’d expect like burgers and fish ‘n chips but a good meal. It was one of the biggest meals I had in England and wasn’t even able to finish all of it. The most interesting thing they offer are platters, of which we tried the Foundryman’s Platter: Homecooked thick sliced ham, Mature Cheddar & Pâté served with pickles, Apple, Pickled Onion, chutneys, piccalilli & bread

Jon organizes the fresh hops/green hops festival with all Kent brewers, including the largest of them all: Shepherd Neame. Something that is worth visiting one day I guess. The Foundry is a must visit for any beer and food lover. We had a great time.  

Good’s Shed/Bottle Shop

Whenever there’s a cool new food thing starting somewhere let’s hope beer is involved like it is in the Good’s Shed. It doesn’t look like much from the outside, just an old train depot. It has been converted into a market for all kinds of food. Things like a butcher, fish stall, fermented stuff, Spanish pastry and imports, vegetables and fruit and a beer store called the Bottle Shop.

A great shop for the lover of good European and American beer like Poppels, Dugges, De Molen, Omnipollo etc. It looks small but has more bottles than you’d expect and it keeps rotating. It also has two taps which when I was there had a Chorlton  and local Time & Tide. You can buy beers there to drink in the Good’s Shed, which is great. Or just take it home. This is the type of store every beer geek wants to live next to or even better work in. They have more stores and if they are any bigger than this one, and I am guessing they are because you can’t really go smaller, is even better. Next to it is also a stall that has more local beers and ciders if you’re interested in sampling that. I had some good beers while in Canterbury, but it was nothing compared to the two I tasted here.

 

Shepherd Neame’s

If you think the Dutch situation where bars are sort of owned by big breweries is complicated, wait to you see the English system. Most of the pubs in Canterbury are owned by Shepherd Neame, a brewery from nearby Faversham. Don’t expect anything ridiculously great, but just your standard English ales and stouts, often from a cask. Because they own the pub there often isn’t any room for other smaller breweries.

One good thing is that the number of beers isn’t limited to just 2 or 3. I stayed in a SM hotel for four days and there was more than enough new stuff to try. Never bad, never extremely good.

The Shepherd Neame sign is therefore very hard to miss. Like Jopen in Haarlem and Bax in Groningen it really is the premier brewery in Kent.

Addendum

We spent a day in Folkestone, next to Dover. We had lunch in a good pub called the Pullman and I walked by a good store I forgot the name of :). Guess I have to go back soon.