Fridge Favourites, Reviews and events

Time, Tide and Foam

Based in West Yorkshire, I get to try a huge range of beer from a wide variety of breweries, and now and again it all becomes a bit of a blur. Its great to have such choice on offer, but inevitably I don’t always pick a winner. When I go back home to Thanet i’m used to taking a small stash of my favourites, mainly to share with family, but also because until quite recently there hasn’t been much in the way of dedicated off-trade outlets in the area.

However, in the space of about 18 months, this changed – there’s now two or three decent off-licences in the area to supplement an ever growing number of micropubs, and on a trip to Sandwich in spring I was pleased to come across a range of cans from Time and Tide Brewing. I’d previously been impressed when trying their beers on keg, and thought i’d drop a line to the brewers themselves for a bit of background on the company as well as writing up my thoughts on part of their range.

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Paul and Sam, founders and joint brewers were happy to oblige, and gave me a short history of the business. ‘We launched Time & Tide Brewing in November 2013, as a dynamic duo, looking to
brew the sort of beers we couldn’t find locally. Paul and I decided to set up our own brewery whilst talking in our favourite pub, having only met once before – we were so aligned in our passion for beer and flavour it just made sense’. From a serendipitous meeting of minds, Paul and Sam spent the first year cuckoo brewing before building their own 20 barrel brewery in 2015.

Other than with the assistance of an apprentice, Paul and Sam handle all aspects of the business on their own, based not far from Deal and deep within traditional cask beer country. Craft beer by and large isn’t on the lips of most drinkers in the area, and I dont think it would be unfair to say that the perception of Kentish beer in the minds of most craft drinkers is based on Shepherd Neame and not too much else. Until recently there was very little in terms of production for keg in the area, but Time and Tide now solely package their beer in keg and can.

From their first cuckoo brew, Calista IPA,  Time and Tide have rapidly expanded to a 20bbl brewery with new fermenters being added at a fast pace. Even with a current range of 8 different beers, they continue to produce experimental brews on a 100L pilot brewery. Although the majority of their early production was in cask, they decided to move to keg production for a simple reason – ‘for us it was always about the flavour! Our beer is unfined and unfiltered, naturally reconditioned in the keg and can with both vessels omitting both light and oxygen, it means that you get the freshest possible beer’

Paul and Sam explain that ‘local businesses are incredibly important to us and we are incredibly grateful to them for taking a chance on us. In many instances these places didn’t have
the ability to dispense our beers and have allowed us to support them in installing the equipment needed in order to serve our beers on draft’. People often talk about innovation when discussing brewery output, and in terms of Kent, Time and Tide certainly stuck their neck out as one of, if not the only brewery canning beer in the county, even though, as they state, ‘our bottleshop style customers then had a bit of work to do to explain to people why canned beers are awesome!’

Time and Tide’s current range of cans certainly stands out on the shelves, not least their 8% ‘The root of all evil’ beetroot hefeweizen. Inspiration comes both from the local area – ‘Spratwaffler is named after the folk from the north end of Deal, where both of us grew up’ – and from quickly developed ideas – ‘Papa Midnight went from concept to fermenter including artwork, recipe etc in 24 hours’

Understandably, local bars and pubs can be sceptical about stocking Kegged products for the first time when they’ve been told for the last 30 years that cask is best, and that this is what will drive repeat sales. Paul confirmed that by adopting their approach they have met with a few hurdles. ‘I think the biggest is education – helping people to understand what craft beer is and dispel a few prejudices. But when people from the local area start to come on the craft beer journey they are our biggest advocates and educators’. Pubs such as the Berry in Walmer, the London Tavern in Margate, and the Queens Head in Ramsgate are prime examples of pubs that serve great keg as well as excellent cask ale, and Paul is not only pleased that their beer has found it’s way into the hands of eager drinkers, he is also keen to progress and keep pushing on.

‘There are lots of great breweries out there doing their thing, however we don’t aspire to be like any of them really. That’s not to say we are not inspired occasionally by what others are doing, its that have loads of our own ideas and are focused on pulling them through. We are keen to grow in a way that means drinkers get more from us.  So we are always looking at tech, methods and capacity to make sure our offering is always getting better.’

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From the cans and keg that I’ve had, there is certainly something about Time and Tide’s beers that stands out – bold recipes, clever use of ingredients and an eagerness to improve and expand on simple beginnings. Hopefully, I’ll be able to see their beers more and more on the bars back home, and further beyond, soon.

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Opinion and rants

Session #113 – Mass Observation 

I’m in a pub in the centre of Leeds, it’s full with a post-work/pre-party crowd and we’ve been lucky to get a seat in a side room.

Pretty much everyone is drinking, except for a few children, who are mostly hitting each other with balloon animals. The kids are cackling with laughter and their, admittedly hilarious, parents.

There’s a range of macro lagers, a few handpumps with decent if traditional micro choices, and Lagunitas, Freedom and Adnams keg beers on. There is a lot of people drinking from branded Peroni glasses, but a lot of freshly sparkled pints and a lot of people sharing bottles of wine.

Good choices of food on the menu, but in my side room there is only the family eating, egg and chips, cheesy chips and chippy chip chips. There is also a couple of people with crisps, which I think they brought themselves. My wife is almost apoplectic that there are no pork scratchings.

Most people are Chatting, playing with the kids, hardly anyone on their phones, except for us. Weirdos.

Conversation is mainly about a local event, which we’re going to shortly, Brexit, Work, their drinks, training dogs, and the pros and cons of online grocery shopping.

I wouldn’t hesitate to describe this pub as traditional, in the best way – lots of glass partitions, cornicing, tiled flooring, thick, fancy wooden tables, but also with more modern twists. Our room is also decorated with a number of prints of film posters, but the arty alternatives, not the ones actually used for promotion.

In the room I’m in there is one TV but it is turned off, suspect it’s just used for Rugby/Football matches.

There are real flowers in small vases on the table, nothing too unusual, nice light fittings, press button bells on the walls for service – I’ve tried it, no one came

Just one smoker outside, no vapers that I can see. No darts or pool table, but I know there is a wide range of board games in the other room, which are no doubt in use.

People here are dressed well, one is a dead ringer for Blossom (remember that?), conversation is loud but not raucous, there is background music at a present but not listenable volume. I think tomorrow never knows by the Beatles has just finished.

Our first glasses have just been collected, although mine had a small amount of a beer that I was saving, as it’s far better than what I’m currently drinking.

All I can smell now is delicious chips. Hungry beyond belief.

This is a pub with a mixed crowd, a wide range of beer, people actually talking to each other and a lot to look at and admire. An old Tetley’s house, there’s a faint whiff of former glories – as there should be given it’s proximity to the now-obliterated brewery. As we leave we walk through the site en route to our next destination. Just the two buildings remain, a office for what’s left of Carlsberg’s Leeds operations, and the iconic Art Deco brewery headquarters, now an art gallery funded by Carlsberg, possibly from guilt.

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