martynj.com - things I have learnt

Enjoying the wares of Brew Company Sheffield and Sea Island Coffee London

I enjoyed a visit to The Brew Company microbrewery in Sheffield last week. This is small-scale brewing, perhaps 10,000 pints of ale per week, that's supplied to Sheffield's finer ale pubs like the Fat Cat, Devonshire Cat and Kelham Island Tavern.

The Head Brewer, owner, salesman, cleaner etc is Peter, who runs the brewery single-handedly and even finds time to do informal tours to ale enthusiasts on the occasional evening. We sampled his best bitter, a hoppy IPA, and a light ginger-flavoured ale. They were delicious with good punchy flavours -- no Smiths or Tetleys Creamflow here! And all brewed in little more space than a modern studio flat.

I'll certainly be keeping a look out for ales by The Brew Company in future.

Another purveyor of tasty liquid goods that I've visited recently is Sea Island Coffee (www.seaislandcoffee.com). Based in Knightsbridge London, they are importers of rare and exotic coffee beans from around the world, which they roast to order and drop in the post when you buy from their website.

My introduction to Sea Island's high-end coffee was a bag of Jamaican Blue Mountain Clifton Estate coffee, which Guy, their experienced taster and part-owner, assured me was one of the best coffees money can buy. It was indeed amazing; just the smell of the ground beans put me in coffee heaven, and straight out of a cafetiere it's delicious. I doubt I'm connoiseur enough to pick between different varieties of posh coffee, but there's no doubt in my mind that this was waaaay better than my usual £3-a-bag-from-Sainsburys stuff.

Apparently there's also some of the (in)famous Alamid Kopi Luwak civet coffee (the beans are eaten, partially digested and excreted by civet cats, then collected, washed, and sold to people who love novelty) in the post too, so I'll be interested to see what that's like.

Tagged: coffee beer sheffield london food

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