2012 was a particularly good year for Westcombe Dairy. Not only did we win the prestigious Best Food Producer category at the BBC Food & Farming Awards, but we found a new tenant for our vacant warehouse next to the dairy in the form of The Wild Beer Co.
Set up by two ex-Bristol Beer Factory brewers Andrew Cooper and Brett Ellis, the Wild Beer Co are making some of most exciting, innovative and downright delicious beer in Britain (possibly the world) right now.
What sets the Wild Beer Co apart is their approach: Andrew and Brett don't think like traditional brewers, they approach their beers like chefs create dishes. It's all about flavour and the amazing combinations that play with the drinker's perception and expectations to create truly remarkable beers. It's an approach that has seen them create some truly exceptional brews, from the refreshing Sourdough to the opulent Wildebeest.
And it's their approach that makes them such a great ally for Westcombe and such a joy to have around. Having like-minded, flavour-obsessed people working away in the same vicinity as us is the ultimate joy for any artisan food producer, and it didn't take long for Westcombe and the Wild Beer Co to join forces, not only with cheese and beer matching events, but with our excellent Cheese and Beer Festivals.
So in the spring of 2013 we held the first ever Westcombe Cheese & Wild Beer Festival here at the diary, as a celebration of all the good things going and a chance to say thanks to our loyal customers (and patient locals who put up with our delivery trucks!).
We transformed the dairy into a temple of cheese and beer delights, with stalls serving proper West Country ploughmans and our classic Westcombe cheese brick toasties. We also had Angus Hillary bring his Field 2 Fire pizza oven over to make a selection of wood-fired bruschettas, while the Wild Beer boys constructed their immense ten-tap Wild Beer bar (one for each of their beers).
There was eating, drinking, music, dancing, train rides, more drinking, more eating and the sun came out, but best of all, loads of people came out too, not just locals but from as far a field as Bristol (and even Sweden!).
In fact, our little festival was so good, we decided to have an even bigger and better one in 2014, for which we built our epic Westcombe burger shack, had ice cream made from our lovely Somerset Ricotta and built an even bigger marquee for carousing. The Wild Beer Co pulled out all the stops on their now even bigger and wilder range of beers, and a thoroughly good time was had by all. See you at the next one! Tom.