Melwood’s Summer Shakedown
What a weekend!!!
A first for Melwood, the Summer Shakedown planning started months ago. At the time I don’t think we appreciated just how much work was involved in getting ready for it. It taught us a major lesson – be prepared!
So just what was involved? Well we are a small, independent brewery, pretty much doing everything by ourselves so when we approached The Baltic Social with our idea for a music and beer day we didn’t really know if they would ‘go’ for it. We knew they had hosted a beer party before with our friends from Mad Hatter but this event was on a different scale. So when they said yes and we booked the date we didn’t have a clue that it was on the same day as England’s first World Cup game! However, when we found out we embraced it and incorporated the showing of the match into the Shakedown.
As for the beer we had to ‘drop it bright’ which involves transferring the beer from the cask into a new ‘clean’ cask so that there is no yeast floating around. This helps because the beer needs to be transported to the venue with the best chance of being clear when pulled on the handpulls in a short space of time.
Shakedown Street Liverpool is the band. Consisting of Tom Traynor on drums, Tim Doyle on Bass guitar, Bill Stoddart on lead guitar, Jason Parr on rhythm guitar and vocals and our own Mr Melwood, John Marsden, on Hammond Organ. Originally started off as an exclusive Grateful Dead covers band, these Deadheads were brought together due to a mutual love of the American 60s psychedelic band, The Grateful Dead. John had been in varying bands with Tim and Jason over the years but Shakedown Street has been the one with longevity with the bandmates doing it just for the love of it. They are a great band and they meet every week to rehearse, playing gigs as and when their various time schedules allow. How cool was it that they were able to play Melwood’s Summer Shakedown?!
Melwood Beer, of course! We wanted to showcase a selection of our range of beers to compliment the music and the food at The Baltic Social and the whole vibe we wanted to create. We ‘ummed’ and ‘ahhhed’ about the selection at first but decided on six beers that we thought gave a picture of The Melwood Beer Company:
Melwood’s Flagship beer. It was the first one we brewed only 15 months ago – A light pale ale single hopped with American Citra hops giving the classic grapefruit, lychee and gooseberry aromas this hop is famous for.
Another of first brewed beers this beer was called Deadhead for obvious reasons! 4.1%ABV – A hazy lazy hoppy beer full of cascade and amarillo with just the slightest hint of citra and the very end gives it a robust yet fruity flavour and aroma.
Brewed a year ago for the first time on MrsMelwood’s belated dad’s birthday, there’s only one name we could call it! Named after Ted Doyle, the pump clip bears his image as a seventeen year old submariner who ‘joined up’ in 1942 and an image of his submarine ‘The Votary’ – 4.2 ABVAll English hops: Challenger, Pilgrim and a shot of Fuggles
Named after our fabulous surroundings in Knowsley Park and a little bit of a nod to MrsMelwoodbeer, the only ‘Blonde’ brewing beer in Knowsley! 4.3 ABV – Crisp, refreshing pale ale using only Atlas hops – a hybrid of Brewers Gold and Slovenian Wild Hop. This beer has a fresh hoppy aroma with a pleasant bitter taste.
Stan’s inaugural brew with Melwood, this beer was his first in the ‘Derby’ range – for obvious reasons again, Stan has strong connections with the Knowsley Estate and lives two minutes away – perfect! 3.7 abv Triple hopped using three hop varieties from the USA and the UK. Expertly blended to create a pale ale with depth and character, this ale has subtle IPA undertones and a pungent spicy aroma.
No6 in our Icons of Rock Series of beers Kaleidoscope Eyes is the strongest beer we have brewed – 5.5 ABV – Pale IPA style beer with Pioneer & Amarillo hops “picture yourself on a boat on a river, with tangerine dreams and marmalade skies……”
The Baltic Social brings together quality food, boss music and belter drinks to provide a unique experience in the heart of Liverpool’s Baltic Triangle so their website says – and it’s true! When we first went there to suss the venue out we were VERY impressed with the ambience of the place and the great music that was being played. And the food! Great menu to choose from; from breakfast through to dinner there’s definitely something on the menu to tempt everyone!
We arrived at The Baltic Social at 9am on Saturday morning with our bar, five hand pulls, six casks, loads of piping, taps and bar paraphernalia. John and Julie carried the bar and casks into the Baltic themselves and began setting it up ready for a 12pm start. The bar was set up by 12pm but the beer wasn’t quite ready for roughly another half hour later. It had such a short time on stillage that it needed a bit more time to settle from the journey but it improved very quickly and was being drunk pretty soon afterwards.
Our first customers were our loyal followers Ruth & Paul Hoyte and ‘Wirralerob’-Rob Shaw and it was very nice to meet them all!
Mr Greg McFarlane and his wife had travelled all the way from just outside Edinburgh for the event because he loves the Grateful Dead and Shakedown Street and Melwood Beer! So he was our next customer and he stayed for the afternoon whilst his wife went shopping in Liverpool. What a nice way to spend the afternoon for him! They both returned for the evening session later on.
Following them were the Liverpool CAMRA guys who lingered a while, left to sample other local’s wares and came back because they couldn’t find any other cask ales in the area! Keg is not their thing apparently! Hurrah for that! because we only had cask on our bar 🙂 And the very friendly @PedroCotzier and his lady came and went twice. Very nice to me you too Pedro!
Then approaching late afternoon the ‘punters’ really started to roll in! Our star of a son, John junior came along to help Mrsmelwood behind the bar. John is a footballer, recovering from foot surgery and has a few short weeks before he’s away again on pre-season training so we were lucky to have the help for the day. And what a sterling job he did! Most of the day it was him who pulled most of the beers whilst mrsmelwood did a bit of mingling with our guests! We surely couldn’t have done it without John’s help! You are a trooper, son and we are very grateful!
Shakedown Street members Jason, Bill and Tim did a mellow acoustic set during the afternoon to set the vibe for the evening session and Jason did an acoustic set of his own and was accompanied for a song with former band mate Steve Cox.
Fabulous food was consumed from the Baltic Social’s great kitchen and much beer was served from the Melwood bar.
Knowsley Blonde was the first beer to go by early evening so we were able to put our flagship beer, Citradelic, on then. Well that sure pleased the Deadheads and by the time Shakedown Street took the stage at 9pm, the beer was flowing and queues were forming at the Melwood Bar.
The Baltic’s bar was heaving too! So good all-round for everyone!
Shakedown Street really rocked the place! And thanks to the Sound Man Lee, they sounded better than we had ever heard them before! It was a nice warm up for them as they will be head lining the Sol Party in Kent on 5th July. Mr Melwood will be taking a few casks of Melwood’s Deadhead down with him so they’re sure to have a good time!
Stan the man made an appearance early evening to check we were serving our beer correctly and of course he stayed and got a bit tipsy too! Yay Stan!!!! and he LOVED Shakedown Street!!! describing them as ‘great with a capital F’ and that’s praise indeed from our mentor and dear friend, Stan.
And so just after 10.30pm Shakedown Street said their goodbyes and down came the screen for the England Match.
Probably the less said about that the better! But The Baltic filled up even more because the venue around the corner wouldn’t let anymore people in to see the match as they were full. Beers still flowed and we were all having a great time anyway!
Finally at the end of the match The Baltic Social closed their emptied bar, Melwood closed their emptied bar and we all packed up and went home. Hey it was 2am!!!
We had the most brilliant time! The Baltic Social is the best venue in Liverpool for this type of event and we couldn’t have been more happy to serve our beer in such fine company. They want us back too so look out for more ‘shakedowns’ where you can get fab food, fine ales and marvellous music all under one roof.
Thank you to everyone who came, to everyone who supported us and helped, lent and loved us; we applaud you all!
We had a blast but now we could sleep for days…..zzzzz It’s been so tiring but hard work hurt no-one so we’ll be back bright eyed and bushy tailed brewing more super ales for you all to enjoy. Look out for our beers in the usual brilliant places: The Caledonia, The Belvedere, The Grapes, Liverpool One Bridewell and the Pilgrim and coming to a pub near you soon!
Salut and keep drinking real ale and supporting local pubs and breweries!