Top Out Brewery will be at the Berwick Food & Beer Festival (2nd - 4th September). The organisers, Slow Food, are brewing up plans to showcase the region’s local ales. With support from main festival sponsor, Simpsons Malt, there will be beer tasting, ciders, cocktails and entertainment throughout the event.
You will be able to meet Top Out Brewery founders, Michael Hopert and Moo Birch, at the special 'Meet the Brewers Evening' at the start of the weekend in the beer marquee on Berwick’s Parade Green, from 7:00 – 10:30pm on Friday 2nd.
Local singer-songwriter Electric Penelope will entertain with her own unique brew of jazz, soul and pop often inspired by the Northumberland landscape. Having received airplay for her debut album on BBC Introducing and supported artists including Geno Washington, her music is the perfect backdrop for a relaxing pint on the Friday evening.
The emphasis on meeting the people behind the beers is a new departure for 2016. Joint Festival Director, Maurice McNeely explains, “The fact that we will have the beer producers themselves on site presenting their own products to the public, closely mirrors what we already have achieved with our food market. It’s very much in line with Slow Food principles supporting and showcasing local artisan brewers in a friendly relaxed setting and giving people a true beer experience.”
The range of brewers taking part stretches across both sides of the Border and a common theme is the use of local ingredients, inspiration from the local landscape and a respect for brewing traditions combined with fresh thinking.
Back by popular demand is Bear Claw, Berwick’s very own nano-brewery, with its range of hand crafted, unfiltered, unrefined ales brewed by Rikki Graham. Regular brews include Winding Spring an American hopped beer, Curmudgeon a traditional style British bitter and Wickety a robust black beer. From Scotland, will be Top Out Brewery, based just south of Edinburgh which takes its inspiration from the Scotland’s mountains. It has been brewing unconventional beers for discerning drinkers since 2013 combining influences from Germany, Belgium and America – countries known for their brewing – with Scottish traditions. A growing range of core and seasonal beers includes pale ales, IPAs, wheat beer and smoked porter.
At the Festival, you will have an opportunity to taste Top Out’s latest Berry Saison:
“This wonderfully pink Berry Saison is our first fruit beer,” says Michael Hopert, Head Brewer. “We added 100kg of fruit (raspberries, blackberries, blackcurrants & cherries) to our 1000l batch – no concentrates or flavourings used! So it's very fruity indeed, and with a nicely balanced acidity it's certainly our most vinous beer yet.
“We brewed this beer in collaboration with Simon Martin from Real Ale Craft Beer, Britain's most popular video beer reviewer, so, we’ve called it Simon Says-On! Simon is Welsh so our label shows, for the first time, not a Scottish but Snowdon in Wales.”
You will also meet multi-award winning microbrewery Born in the Borders based near Jedburgh, as well as the Tempest Brewing Company which has roots in Kelso via Canada and New Zealand. Other great local craft beers will also be featured at the festival.
Berwick, its name derived from the Old English for Barley Farm, has long been associated with brewing. With modern breweries of all sizes still using its malt, it’s particularly apt that Simpsons Malt is the main festival sponsor. Summing up their involvement, Richard Simpson said, “As the Home of Good Malt, Simpsons Malt is proud of its heritage in Berwick-upon-Tweed and produces some of the finest malt in the world which comes from barley grown in nearby fields. Being part of a festival that celebrates such fantastic local brewers and quality produce gets our wholehearted backing.”
The Berwick Food and Beer Festival, takes place at The Barracks in Berwick-upon-Tweed from September 3rd – 4th from 10.00am – 5.00pm with the Beer Marquee opening into the evenings. The Meet the Brewers event will be held from 7pm on Friday 2nd September; £3 entry fee. Held in Berwick-upon-Tweed’s historic Barracks, here will also be a Producers’ Market, Street Food area, Demonstration Kitchen, Children’s Activities and entertainment. More information at www.berwickfoodandbeerfestival.co.uk