Monday sees a new innovation hit the Chester beer scene. Underground Beer Club, a new beer exploration experience, hosts its first event “Beer Without Fear” in the Cellar on City Road. We had the privilege to sit down with one of the founding members and pick their brains about this new and exciting club.
To some, the name Andy Tabberer is a synonym of Chester Beer Appreciation Society (CBAS), as he was the man behind the now successful and well known monthly event. Andy passed the torch to others about a year ago and took a break from beer clubs, but did not sit idle. He had his fingers in several pies (such as Chester Culture) during his hiatus, but in his heart he knew he would return to the wonderful world of beer; he knew he wanted to do something different but wasn’t sure what that would be.
“A chance meeting with Aki – manager of the Cellar – one night got me thinking. What I wanted to see in Chester was a club that focussed purely on trying new beer in a relaxed setting. I knew that the Cellar had a cellar that would be an ideal place to host such a night. I had a quick chat a few weeks later with Aki and that was it.” Said Andy.
So, what is the Underground Beer Club? The idea is that both hosts, Andy and Andrew ‘Aki’ Atkinson (known now as the Andrew’s sisters) present the pre-selected beers, and playfully compete not only for the popularity of their choices but also on how outrageous and exciting these beers are.
“It’s all about fun.” Said Andy. “It will be very informal and a little silly. Aki and I will present three beers each, and we have a maximum of two minutes to describe the beer in any way we see fit. We then want people to talk about what they like about each one and so on. There will be a vote at the end of the night to decide the best beer. There may be prizes, too.”
Prizes, you say? Well, now you have our attention! But hold the bus, aren’t there a few different beer clubs in Chester, and even more on the works? How will Underground Beer Club stand out from all these magnificent events?
“The difference is that this club is about being adventurous and trying new things.” Andy said. “And because we have a fixed venue, the focus will always be on the beer. Aki and I chose the beers together, which means there will always be great, unusual and rare beers on show. We don’t need to worry about finding venues, negotiating with pubs and so on, we just focus on getting the best possible beers.”
Well, that should do it. The Cellar has an ironclad reputation for weird and wonderful beer as it is, and Andy certainly knows his hops and malt, having brewed a few beers in his time so the odds are the beer is going to be fabulous. And there’s more! “We’ll have a bottle swap, too – people should bring their favourite beer along to swap with someone else.” Andy instructed.
So, what’s the plan then? What has Andy deviced for the future? “We’ll meet on the 2nd Monday of each month. We might run the club every other Monday, but we need to see how it goes. I hope we can do an all-day event in future with some like the Campaign for Really Good Beer.” Andy said. But he also has other ambitions: “We will organise a trip to Brussels next year so people can visit a few breweries we will feature and have a tasting evening organised by a local beer club.”
It all sounds pretty interesting. Great plans teamed up with the expertise to execute them. If you want to check out the event, and there’s no reason why you wouldn’t, head over to the Cellar at 8pm on Monday 9th December armed with a bottle to swap with your fellow beer lovers and the ticket price of £17.50 which includes the 6 beers and nibbles to munch on.
See you all there!