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Today warrants a special post—I visited Britain’s oldest brewery. However, It’s been awhile sense I updated what I’ve been up to in general. Well, I just finished another film titled ‘Conatus‘. I’ll post that in a separate post, soon probably. I’ve been mostly procrastinating working on a paper, and hanging out with my friend Matt who’s staying with me over the break. I’ve also been preparing to go to Africa, which has been a fairly painless process. I’m still quite looking forward to going home, and it’s not too far off now. I’ve been killing Mad Men season 2, which I highly recommend, as well. Lot’s of filling time, though. It’d be super lonely without Matt around (missing Monica hardcore). One of the time fillers, mentioned earlier, is the transitions to the blog. I started going through all the old posts and categorizing them correctly, and tagging them correctly. I’m only on November 2007 right now. In the end the blog will be much easier to navigate historically and categorically for all, and probably, hopefully, increase traffic. At this point my most popular post is still the one where Andrew birds musical instruments are mentioned. [Side Note: I actually changed the tags of this post. It used to be all clumped together, incorrectly distinguishing the words as tags. I will have discovered that separating words can hurt a posts meta-reference value on the internet by changing this if the post stops getting so many hits. Anyway, I find it interesting.] So, now on to Faversham‘s famous brewery.

Shepherd’s Neame has been around sense 1698. The banners around the brewery haven’t been updated since 1998, where the 6 in “Established in 1698” is also a 9, symbolising their 300 year anniversary in 1998—thus making them 311 years old. Beer, however, is probably at least 8,000 years old. Faversham is a pretty standard town, we didn’t see anything too special. However, in the Kent area there are 375 local pubs or bars that they stock as subsidiaries. Though, there are 890 pubs in general that have their beer on tap in England. They have four seasonal beers (naturally), and some other ales they produce year round, not to mention being Britain’s major producer of more common beers like Asahi, Oranjeboom, Sam Adams Boston Lager, Etc. They also have an attached micro-brewery which produces cool special ales for one-off events and occasions (for instance, they have a special beer every year around Christmas).

The tour was pretty interesting and rewarding. I recently got two new batteries for my camera, but neglected to charge any of them, and so (much to my dismay) ran out of batteries just after the first 15 minutes of the tour. So there aren’t any pictures, and I’ve been slacking in this department lately, in general. Regardless, I can assure you that I learned a lot, and it was a pretty dang cool experience—one I hope to have again (note: there was some seriously obsessed guys on the tour that looked and sounded like they should have been from the movie Sideways. Calm down guys, seriously). I think probably the most memorable part of the tour was when we tasted three of the four ingredients they use for their beers. We tasted several different types of malted barley (different roasts and flavors), some hops (which were really gross, but now I will never forget what it means when something is “hop-y”, and of course their wonderful “liquor” (A.K.A what brewers call the water they use for their beer. In our case it was just water with natural minerals from a really really old well). They also have these massive storage containers that are used to “lager” some of the beer (which requires a second “storing/”lagering” process of fermentation, and results in beers called, duh, “lagers”). In these containers are approximately 1.25 million pints of beer; which the tour guide used for in this punch-line, “that’s a fact, not a challenge.” And, of course, there was a great tasting session at the end. My favorite was “Early Bird,” but I tried a few others as well. Bishop’s Finger is the name of one of the beers, by the way. As are Spitfire (named after world war two planes, and the advertising of which was both controversial, and highly successful—This coupled with the beer actually being really good eventually caused the intended limited run to span into the present). I’ll close with two quotes I found on the tour:

“Give my people plenty of beer, good beer and cheap beer, and you will have no revolution among them.” -Queen Victoria

“Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.” -Benjamin Franklin