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On Wednesday the 4th of February a small group of beer enthusiasts gathered at The Duke's Head in Highgate Village to share a lot of very good beer. Previously I've run two sold out events at The Duke's, they were an absolute blast and there's more to come (more on this in a moment) but between the pub's Manager, Tom and myself we decided on doing something a little more intimate.
We wanted to get together a group of people who loved beer as much as we did and to share beers that might not necessarily be available at the pub itself. We decided to keep the group to a size of ten, plus the two of us but we also wanted to create something that we could run monthly, that would stay fresh and interesting for those that choose to attend regularly. We sold ten tickets for the event at ten pounds each but the entirety of the ticket fee was to be spent on a selection of bottles curated by Tom and I. Guests were also welcome to bring bottles from their own collection, so there was certainly no fear of anyone going thirsty.
The two of us met at Mother Kelly's in Bethnal Green one evening and dropped our cash on some of the best bottles they had in stock. We left with IPA, sours, stouts, gose, Belgian style quads and even a barrel-aged rauchbier. We were pretty confident with what we had in store for our guests but when they turned up with their Flanders reds, more sours and even some hallowed Westvleteren 8 we knew we were in for a great night.
We whizzed through the beers, conversation becoming louder and more excited in time with each bottle being opened. Some even ordered pints to keep them going in between bottles, something to really gulp on between small sips of the beers being passed around. It was a genuine pleasure to try beers from Liverpool's Mad Hatter and Manchester's Chorlton Brewing Company for the very first time. I was mesmerised by the immaculate Cuvée De Ranke with its sour, lemony notes twisting my tongue and the Barrel Aged Old Rasputin from California's North Coast was up there with the best bourbon barrel-aged stouts I have ever tasted. It didn't stop there though, more bottles came out and when the bottles were empty we hit the taps for pint after pint of Beavertown Gamma Ray. Then we got into the Sacred Hop Shots, a 'reversed engineered beer' that's basically hop gin. It all went dark after that.
It was incredible - I urge you to get involved with the next one - it's going to be bigger and better. We're keeping the same sized, cosy group of ten but we're pleased to welcome special guests Fourpure Brewing Co. who will also be slinging a few of their great canned beers into the mix. This isn't going to be so much a meet the brewer as more of a sit down and get drunk with a brewer, so to speak. We're hoping to get more brewers and other special stuff like this happening as the months go on.
Our next Bottle Club will be held on Wednesday the 4th of March and the ticket link will only be sent out to members of the mailing list. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org if you'd like to take part. We're making this a ticketed event in order to keep the size of the group small, if we get enough interest then we will hopefully look at a way of accommodating a larger group in the future. As this is a ticketed event we are unable to accommodate walk-ins, we just want to make sure there is enough beer to go around.
I'm also very excited to announce that The Duke's Head, myself and a very, very cool brewery have been working hard on preparing for our next event. Put Friday the 20th of March in your diaries right now because this is going to be one beer event you will not want to miss. For updates follow Duke's (@DukesHighgate) and myself (@totalcurtis) on twitter as we will be revealing more details very soon.
Here's hoping we'll see you at Bottle Club in the not too distant future!