canterbury and beer

Canterbury, Kent.

A populous city, place of my school daze and I’ve even been to both Universities, (to study, I might add, I think!?).    Steeped in religious and political history, icons such as the Archbishop of Canterbury, a position that now heads the Church of England and the worldwide Anglican Communion (though the modern-day Province of Canterbury covers the entire south of England). Thomas Becket’s murder at Canterbury Cathedral in 1170 led to the cathedral becoming a place of pilgrimage for Christians worldwide. This pilgrimage provided the theme for Geoffery Chaucer’s 14th-century literary classic The Canterbury Tales. The literary heritage continued with the birth of the playwright Christopher Marlowe in the city in the 16th century.

Many historical structures remain in the city, including a city wall founded in Roman times and rebuilt in the 14th century, the ruins of St Augustine’s Abbey and a Norman castle, and perhaps the oldest school in England, The King’s School. Modern additions include the University of Kent, Canterbury Christ Church University, the Marlowe Theatre, and the St Lawrence Ground, home to Kent County Cricket Club.

See, a bucket load of history and fek all beer.

Over the years, Canterbury has had breweries – the oldest in the cloisters in the grounds of the cathedral, though to the old Canterbury Brewing Co, long since deceased.   The excellent Canterbury Beer Shop, alas went, (but has given us the Butchers Arms in Herne; a modern day pillar of the ale scene in Kent.)       We had a Belgian beer centric restaurant, Cafe Belge, and that’s gone.      Even to go on a walk about for a few pints, you’re very limited.  The Pheonix, once the best ale pub in the area, has since gone.  We have the “Brewery Tap”, a Michael Cane restaurant affair, that does on it’s merits have an interesting selection of local ales, a spot I am not unfamiliar with.  Land rents, rates and the powers of the local church have had a stifling effect, but the town has a £1.3billion year economy… But that’s about it.

Until now that is:

Late 2010 will see the opening of two beer venues.      La Trappiste and The Bottle Shop.

La Trappiste,

Sister to the Belgian Beer Bar in Ramsgate, a belgian centric offering.    I have seen the building, and yeah it’s nice.   Keep an eye on  their website for more information.

The Bottle Shop,

It looks like The Bottle Shop will be opening on November the 22nd at The Goods Shed in Canterbury.  They’ll be selling beers from 12pm to 11pm and will have access to the market floor for table service and ordering from our expertly written beer menus from 6pm onwards.  There are still a few obstacles to overcome but it’s looking really possible that those coming to Canterbury will be able to get access to the best British bottled beers available along with some corkers from Europe, Asia and America.  Stay tuned for more details.

3 thoughts on “canterbury and beer

  1. Just a little addition to the brewery history of Canterbury – after I finished my course at Christ Church College & finished selling beer & wine to the good folks of St Dunstan’s St (Oddbins) & indeed finished punting people up & down the river for a summer, I briefly worked as brewing supervisor at The Great Stour Brewery – a rare brew-it-yourself brewery on Stour Street, just a skip off the high street.

    We had new custom-designed brew-kit from Hickey’s of Dartford & a great brewing consultant – Micheal Hoek – a German braumeister, seconded to Sheps to show them how to brew Wessbier! The brewplant included 6 x 50litre coppers, boiling good quality malt extract, whole hops & coloured malts, with separate warm & cold rooms for ale & lager & a neat little bottling plant, & even an auto temp-controlled wort cooling system, which I’ve not seen anywhere else.

    The only other thing we had was Dover quite nearby & cheap beer just a skip over or under the channel! Sadly it didn’t last long.

  2. Aye, I have been around a bit :~) – U-brew, cuckoo-brew, a few ale-micros, lager-micro, swanky US-style brewpub, centuries-old regional, I think the only sort of place I’ve never brewed is a humungous macro-brew lager factory, somehow I doubt I ever will, but never say never – my mate from Meantime went to work for AB in the US & as far as I can tell he enjoyed it – state of the art kit, good pay & benefits, etc, etc – though he is now about to open his own micro :~)

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