The Sweetest Feeling – Berries, Beans and Beer

Some events hit you between the eyes from the get go.

Some, take their time to find their “place”. Because they feel a bit – advanced. Too soon. Ahead of their time.

That was Berries, Beans and Beer in Crewe. In year one.

I loved it. Could see the aim. It felt so right to me. But sometimes, people need to catch up. To “get it”. That happened last year. In year 2.


I persuaded some of my Beer family as to its merits. So persuaded, they bought their train tickets and ventured out – away from that oh so easy Manchester bubble – to Crewe Railway Heritage Centre.

And they are coming back. From all over. Because they saw what I saw.

Which is – quite simply – the most relaxed drinks event I’ve ever been to. And that fact that it is a “drinks event” changes the dynamic enormously. I still find beer events very male, slowly changing, but still mostly the traditionally male demographic dominates.

This was different. The fact that it was a more inclusive drinks event, made it more inclusive. The male / female mix was the most even in any event I’ve been to. And that – if anything – enhanced the relaxed feel of year one.

Yes, the was a great beer list (from Michelle Shipman I’d expect no less), but the gin list was simply astonishing. The rum list wasn’t far behind

Having a packaged beer option via the fabulous Otters Tears of Burslem made a huge difference to my lot


But back to basics.

Crewe is – quite possibly – the best connected town in the North of England. All train lines seem to run through it. It may not be somewhere you’d immediately think “event”. But, when you consider just a little, it makes perfect sense.

The Railway Heritage Centre is about a 10 minute walk from the train station – just enough to heighten the senses. To sharpen the tastebuds.

Michelle has gone to some lengths this year. There is an app for Android phones (iPhone link here) which is so easy to use and shows you everything on offer

(That list of taxis is a nice touch!). The app adds a little extra – hell, I’m not sure I could do that for #ISBF6 (but I might have a chat…)

The gin list is HUGE and – of course – small batch and independent. I might try a few Gins myself – all #ISBF6 research, of course…

And that glassware…


The Rum bar is none too shabbily stocked either. The coffee selection from HasBean is justly lauded by my Midlands friends and I remember a stunningly fruity thing from year one – when I volunteered.

I come back – as in all my favourite events – to feeling. This event just feels so relaxed. So easy. No posturing, no posing, just a bunch of friendly people shooting the breeze, enjoying their drink of choice, in an ace venue.

It is one of my 3 Unmissables. Alongside EastWestFest (read here) and the Road To Wigan Beer (read here).

You really ought to give it a go.