Monday, 25 July 2011

How it all began first posted 11th May 2011

Social media is a very useful tool in communicating with people all over the world in just a few seconds. Its faster than telephone and carrier pigeon, snail mail, trains, planes and automobiles and what is even better, you don't know who you are going to communicate with. The one thing you do know is that you have something in common with them. In our case it's a love of beer or a love of communicating about beer.

Only 14 months ago I was a lowly landlady of the Woolpack Inn in Eskdale. The Inn is located in a very remote valley on the western side of the Lake district, over an hour from any motorway and only one long coastal route from Cockermouth to Kendal, North to South. There are no roads East to West, well except for the Hardknott Pass. Three in one hairpin bends, very steep and narrow with not many passing places. Therefore the pub was rather quiet between November and February, plenty of time to have a long relaxing holiday.

However in November 2005 Dave (aka HardknottDave) had other ideas. Lets build a brewery and start making beer. The first beer was racked on Christmas Eve - well what else do you do on a Christmas Eve! Ready for drinking on New Years Eve.

We worked very hard from 1st February to 31st October every year with hardly any time off. Running a pub is very hard work and all pubs have their advantages and disadvantages. On 31st October 2008, another season was over. The Laa'l Ratty was having its usual Halloween trains and our children were off to help Grandpa in one of the stations. They loved to dress up as ghosts and witches and jump out to scare the passengers as the train slowly siddled through the station. Not Dave however, he had other things on his mind. He heard about this thing called blogger. While the children were out, and the guests had all gone, there was beer to drink up and some partying to do and Dave had to write his HardknottDave's Blog.

Already, in just a couple of weeks from starting to write, Dave was reporting to me about other blogs and bloggers and his need to post comments and writing blogs in reply was so addictive, he would be quiet for hours. (hard to believe, I know)

By the end of 2009 Dave had began tweeting regularly and somehow enticed me to join in too. Before I knew it, I had daily communications with a lot of people I didn't know. Then one day he said, "we're going on a Twissup", "a whatup?" I said, " A twissup" says Dave, "Where you can meet some of these people from twitter." Ok, sounds exciting, but how will we know who anyone is I thought. The day arrived in January 2010. We travelled to a recently opened bar on Sheffield Station, I guess you've heard of it - the Sheffield Tap. It was about lunchtime, but no food. It was also quite busy, lots of people with rucksacks, all buying beer. Suddenly everyone was introducing themselves to each other, they were all tweeters who had come on the very first beer twissup. There were 30 strangers all enjoying beer and breweries and chatting and having fun. But not much tweeting. We had an excellent day with some very good locals who kept us in check, well at least until late. We returned home with 30 new friends and followers.

To find out more about the day read

In September 2010 another twissup was planned. This time we're meeting in Picadily Sation at Manchester - oh no -not a pub. How are we going to find everyone in a train station? Luckily, Sooty decided he wanted to come too. He jumped into the rucksack and off we went. There we were in the station tweeting at people, but it was difficult to find everyone. No problem. There maybe lots of people with rucksacks in a station, but there's only one yellow Sooty bear.

Next thing, he was out of the rucksack and waving at everyone. This was fun. Breweries and pubs, trains and more pubs, then more trains. It was a tiring day. Sooty made lots of friends. Some suggested that he should have his own twitter account, and so HardknottSooty was born.

HardknottSooty Gets into Blogging posted 11th May 2011

This blog was first posted on 11th May 2011 as one of my first two blogs. Unfortunately blogger waved its magic wand and prevented me editing it ever since. Using the wonders of control C and control Z I shall endevour to doa littler magic and implant my missing blogs into my new blog.

here goes - Abra cadabra

"Sooty, the family Bear, accidently fell into a rucksack one day. The rucksack belonged to HardknottAnn and it was packed ready for a twissup adventure. Little did this yellow bear know what adventures he was about to embark on and the subsequent development of HardknottSooty and his beer discoveries. Now he is here to tell of his adventures on his own blog. From TV fame to twitter fame and now to blog fame...well maybe?

Meet @HardknottSooty

Checking out beer with @HardknottAnn and @HardknottDave at the Maltings, York Twissup.

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

How do you get beer to GBBF if you are British?

After reading Brewdog James' Blog about his unfortunate cancellation from GBBF, it reminded me of my visit to GBBF last year.

At Hardknott we have been brewing since 2005 but as yet have not to my knowledge been put forward for any consideration for sending beer to GBBF. I have been asked by a number of people if and when Hardknott beer will be at GBBF, the answer is I don't know.

I was recently informed by a local CAMRA member that there was one man in Cumbria responsible for deciding which Cumbrian beers will go to GBBF. I tweeted about this and received numerous replies indicating that this could not be true. I have no evidence to support this either way.

At GBBF last year, shortly after arriving, I visited the Cumbrian stand to check out the beer selection. I scanned the breweries exhibiting and was greatly disappointed. There were no beers represented from some of the best Cumbrian breweries. This surely gave a poor impression of what Cumbria had to offer.

I wandered away disappointed. I headed for the BSF bar where many fellow twitterartti had gathered. I consulted the program for inspiration and couldn't believe my eyes when I saw a beer was listed from a very small microbrewery. This particular brewery is set in a very small pub in a very small village in a remote area of Oregon on the most westerly coast of the USA.

What made the beer stand out to me was because we know the brewer so well. In fact Ted of the Brewers Union 180 stayed with us at The Woolpack Inn on numerous occasions. Not only did he visit us and help to brew but also bought a selection of handpulls and British pint glasses, in fact he filled a pallet of goodies to transport back to Oregon where he intended to buy a pub and set up a micro brewery.

We have since visited Ted and his pub and brewery where Hardknott Dave joined in with some brewing and made some Cumberland sausage for a Boxing Day speciality. We used to say Brewers Union 180 was like a sister pub to The Woolpack Inn and was the next best beer to find at GBBF after Hardknott.

But please can someone tell me how a firkin of beer from a small brewpub 5014 miles away from London be served at the Great BRITISH BEER Festival, when beer from Hardknott Brewery only 227 miles away, and which can be frequently found in London, but cannot be found at the GBBF?

I believe Ted's beer will be at GBBF again this year and better than that Ted will be visiting Hardknott brewery this year too to brew with Hardknott Dave. Maybe we could send some Hardknott beer to Ted in Oregon 5014 miles away and he could send send it back to GBBF for us under a pseudonym.

Blogger Technology Fail

Welcome to my second attempt at writing a blog.

My first attempt staring the Adventures of Sooty started out very well for the first few hours, but due to the magic of technology it appears to have trapped itself in limbo blog land. Apparently according to technology it technically belongs to me, it's just that I am unable to access it but luckily no one else can either. My google account doesn't know it exists.

If anyone can help me to join the two parts of me back together I would be very grateful, but in the frustrating meantime I've decided to start another blog to deal with frustrating and entertaining issues.

Best not tell HardknottSooty just in case he waves his magic wand again and freezes my blog.

Now due to the fail in transmission I have a back log of blogs brewing, so best start now.