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business premises from May Hill to Hillside Brewery) last year, the Williamson’s family business has begun to morph into more than just a brewery…
In fact, there are other attractions at the site, aside from artisan ales, as was covered by this blog post about their open day on Feb 1st with local band Vapor. This event serendipitously coincided with the end of ‘Dry January’ – an attempt to encourage people to go booze-free for 31 days. So, visitors could celebrate the end of a month of abstinence, let their hair down and enjoy the fine ale, local wine, cider and fantastic local grub guilt-free.
The action took place in the beer hall. Although the hall was rather drafty, this can only be expected at the start of February. After all, it is winter! Besides, there are plans to fit wind-breaking doors and the heater helped. The atmosphere was great, so the British weather didn’t dampen the occasion. Just imagine how popular these new open days could become, once the weather gets warmer and sunnier!
Four piece Bristolian band Vapor played their blend of reggae, acoustic soul and country music to the audience. Mark Venus was on guitar, whilst the lovely Onika Patterson belted out her beautifully soulful vocals. The Hillside crew were also on hand with warming, wholesome and local food, offering soup and hotdogs to help soak up the ale. Indeed, this mix of artisan beverages, live music and good, simple and filling food seemed to go down a treat with the audience members, who were wrapped up nice and warmly.
Such an event wouldn’t be complete without a visit from CAMRA, the Campaign for Real Ale. Members Neil and Caz cycled all the way from Hucclecote, with their beer drinking Jack Russell named Bob!
So, we hope to see more open days like this in 2015. These open days are a fab idea and they create a sense of community and pride in our local produce. We’re all about celebrating our hardworking and talented food and drink producers in the Forest of Dean and Wye Valley, and there are so many gems here that we feel they really are worth shouting about!
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