SX Bottle Share March 2016

Having met up at the excellent Queen St. Brewhuis in Colchester last week to meet some (far more experienced) home brewers from the Anglian Crafter Brewers, earlier this week it was a train journey to The Ale House under Chelmsford’s railway arches to attend the monthly SX Bottle Share.

Like all the best ideas, SX Bottle Share is a simple one : real ale geeks turn up with a couple of bottles of a beer and the evening is spent with everyone having a ‘snifter’ from each of the bottles. As The Ale House hosts the evening session, the evening starts off with buying some pints from the bar (and one SX Bottle Share a year has the beers bought from the bar, to reward the pub for hosting the evening, and supplying a never-ending supply of freshly washed half pint glasses).

There were bottles of all shapes and sizes (like the 10 guys who were there.) There were krieks and imperial stouts, lots of IPAs, some limited editions, and one homebrew. Some were deemed a palpable hit, and some were deemed a palpable miss – none of us were fans of Weird Beard’s collaboration brew with French brewers La Debauche – a milk stout infused with assam tea and Garam Masala, and cloves (it was the cloves that didn’t set well with us).

And there was an excellent cheese board, and some excellent chocolate brownies (thanks to the guys who brought them!). There was banter, bonhomie, and there was craic. And there were (modest) ‘fines’ for bringing bottles that had previously been brought to SX Bottle Share, and for achieving Untapped ‘badges’ – a majority of attendees were feverishly on the Untappd app throughout the evening. I restricted myself to some tweeting. And I was pleased that my keeping the two bottles of Brentwood Brewing’s ‘Special Reserve’ I had bought in 2014 (already a year old when I bought them, and only 100 bottles made) went down a treat.

And fortunately Abellio Greater Anglian were running to time on the way home.