by David McCormack
A personal timeline through my early history
1. Holloway Road, Islington N19
From Fairmead Road to Eden grove,
along Marx’s pilgrim route,
daily journey to and from school,
holding my mother’s hand, tightly,
or riding, a tiny pillion papoose n
my father’s modest auto-cycle
weaving intricate patterns
between giant grazing trolley buses
engorging and disgorging their freight
2. An Islington Spring, circa, 1957
Lilacs spangled by spring shower
In a child’s hand mother bound,
crossing threshold and a taboo of Irish
superstition, “No, son,” she said,
“Get them out of here. They invite
Death in here, as a guest. At least
bad luck. Bad luck and a keening
Banshee at our door.”
3. Old Snap shot
Here is my father
sitting astride a modest motorcycle,
caught, I guess, between
The speed of light
And the reflexive iris of a box camera.
There he is drained of all colour,
made anaemic by the monochrome process
made more poignant in the two
decades since his death.
Here my father is Lord of the moment,
occupying space and time …
Indeed, despite being a meagre
rent paying tenant in this north
London house … he is sovereign
of this topos and a colourful
loci in my memory.
Angle, seemingly Novelle Vague
but I was a toddler.
2003 Church End Brewery Ltd.
Originally, Church End Brewery was based in an old coffin workshop behind the Griffin Inn at Shustoke, Warwickshire. It has since become known as a hands – on craft brewery making a range of cask conditioned beers.
The brewery philosophy allows only the use of best quality raw materials. Floor malted barley, whole hops and no processed sugars.
This 4-barrel plant opened in 1994 in a 350-year-old stable block at Shustoke, but moved to its present 10-barrel plant at Ridge Lane in 2001. After a few years it was supplying between 100 and 150 outlets and produces over 30 different beers each year.
The brewery tap for the Church End Brewery is situated down a small road, off the main road in Ridge Lane. There is a sign on the side of the main road to show you where to go: “Brewery Tap Open”. This leads into a large car park and a field. Here is what was once the the old Ridge Lane Working Men’s Club, considerably modified and modernised. Outside are benches (wonderful in the summer) and the inside taproom bar is both modern and comfortable. The beer has the freshness of spring water, with a distinctive flavour like no other brand! A variety of continental bottled beers are for sale too.
Despite brewing quite a variety of modern pale ale beers, Church End Brewery still use tried and tested historical methods, sticking to traditional processes of malt and hops.
The first brew was made on August 1st 1994 and it’s name was ‘M Reg’ (work it out). Shortly later came ‘M Reg Gti’ and ‘What the Fox’s Hat’.
Paul Hamblett from the brewery said, “We’ve made beers using mangoes, grapefruit, bananas – all sorts of things. The one that wasn’t successful was garlic. Much as I love garlic – it doesn’t work as beer! I can’t remember who suggested that one…!”
Once, the brewery even experimented with special aphrodisiac ingredients to make a beer for Valentine’s Day. The love potion – called Alcofrolic – applied the ancient aphrodisiac properties of ginger and ginseng. For the Coventry Beer Festival in 2002, the brewery made the most of the event’s Highfield Road location and made Sky Blueberry Bitter, which contained fresh blueberries. They have also used local produce as key ingredients in some of their ales. The honey in their popular Pooh Beer is from a bee keeper whose apiary is just up the road from them in Ridge Lane. The beer is so popular that it sells out every time they brew it – I was told the bees just can’t keep up with the demand! One of their latter brews is a bottle conditioned beer named Rugby ale (ABV 5.0%) and was brewed in celebration of the Rugby World Cup in 1999. Rugby Ale is a strong Brown Ale.
No only honey beers made with real honey …now they have over forty distinctive products including beers made with real fruit, with real herbs, wheat beers made with a high proportion of malted wheat and black beers made from chocolate malt.
“We’re quite proud to boast we sell everything we brew,” I’m told by Stuart.
The small brewery team are happy to show people around their premises in Ridge Lane, near Atherstone, as long as a visit has been arranged beforehand. Just give them a call on 01827 713 080 to arrange a tour.
The brewery opens a small bar every Friday, Saturday and Sunday night at its brewery site in Ridge Lane.