I’m fairly certain my introduction to Essex was on foot. Arriving at Broxbourne railway station in Hertfordshire, it was a good half hour schlep over the Essex border to my then-girlfriend(now wife)’s family in Nazeing.
Recent trips to Broxbourne have been to grab a train up to watch Spurs, on the odd occasion when a mate’s mate’s pair of season tickets are up for grabs. Last Wednesday it was Spurs vs Arsenal in the League Cup (or whatever it’s called now). Co-incerdentally, over the previous weekend I’d been in twitter contact with The Fallen Angel Brewery, who had (if memory serves me right) one of their chilli beers on at the Chapell Beer Festival, which I hadn’t got round to trying out.
Now, bear with me here, it gets a bit complicated. The Fallen Angel Brewery, specialising in chilli infused beers and ciders, was set up ten years ago in West Sussex, but merged with the Broxbourne Brewery, with the pair of breweries now operating out of an industrial estate in Hoddesdon (adjacent to Broxbourne). And there’s a new guy running the show – ex-architect Martin Smith, who took over earlier in 2015.
Martin inherited the brewing kit – not much copper, and closer to home brewkit than brewery I reckon! He also inherited a lot of recipes and expertise, which he’s been putting to good use, and some non-PC labels. Fans of Daisy Duke from the Dukes of Hazzard will appreciate a couple of the labels, and of course there’s nothing that says ‘festive period’ quite like a picture of two doe-eyed nubile manga chicks in seasonal basques. I didn’t get to see the ‘Naughty Nun’ label, which Martin, very much aware of these issues, couldn’t lay his hands on during my visit. Note : google ‘naughty nun’ at your peril…..
The brewery has been focussing primarily on bottle sales at chilli festivals and the like, which appears to be keeping the virtually one-man operation more than busy. A couple of snifters of the chilli infused beer and cider prepped me nicely for the trip to Spurs, and a generous gift of some other bottles will see me tweeting my tasting notes over the weeks to come.