The Session #43: Welcoming The New Kids

 This month's host of The Session, The Beer Babe, has challenged us all to blog on this topic:

"Seek out a new brewery and think about ways in which they could be welcomed into the existing beer community. How does their beer compare to the craft beer scene in your area? Are they doing anything in a new/exciting way? What advice, as a beer consumer, would you give to these new breweries?"

A new brewery? Hmmmmm. Where to look?

My own doorstep is the obvious place.

Derbyshire is a cradle of microbrewing in the UK. We have some time-served brewpubs (John Thompson, Brunswick), some up-and-coming micros (Spire, Ashover, Amber). The occasional small-guy-done-good (Thornbridge). And I don't know if it's the water, an innate desire or our love for good ale but the county just keeps on inspiring brewers.

We have a million people here, most in the city of Derby with the rest spread over the county of a  thousand square miles. Mind you, they are chicken-feed statistics compared to every United State. Yet this year we've seen four microbrewers open up, giving us thirty working brewpubs and brewers. And today I've been enjoying the beers from one of the newest on the block.

Raw Brewery have been in business for just over three months. But they're already making a great impression on the local beer scene and beyond. From their place in Staveley - already home to Townes and Spire breweries - they're knocking out beers that are punching way above their weight.  It's only today that I managed to drink their beers and, boy, was it worth it. Grey Goose IPA bucks the trend of senseless over-hopping and settles for deep fruit, married with solid malt. The blindsider was Dark Peak Stout; one of those beers that you fall in love with because of its commensurate restraint.  Just licorice enough, just ashen enough, just dark-chocolate-with-fruity-berry-notes enough.

Enough for Dark Peak to win the overall silver medal at the Peterborough Beer Festival, one of the largest cask festivals in the UK. And it was best beer in the New Brewery category too. Grey Goose was second in that category. Not bad for a newbie brewer :-)

So, to answer Carla's call:

- how could they be welcomed? No introduction required; already established as a regular beer in key pubs through North Derbyshire. And joining the Derbyshire Brewers Collective shows their dedication to collaboration.

- How do they compare? Very well. Derbyshire brewers set the bar high and Raw are another startup who don't flop beneath it.

- New and exciting? To be honest, what Raw do is not new. And that's what makes it exciting. Old skool IPA and stout, tasty and restrained, full of body and full of flavour. No bells and whistles or mad bastard hops. Just really drinkable beer. Isn't that why we pick the glass up in the first place?

-What advice can I give? Keep on keeping on. Few brewers hit the ground running in this fashion.

For those lucky people within reach of Derby, five Raw beers are on sale at the Smithfield as part of their festival. Although knowing the crowd they get, who drink like bastards, there may not be too much left by the time you reads this. Sorry. At least I shared the gen :-)

To find out more about Raw Brewery, check out their website, Facebook and Twitter pages