Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Hops & Vines Part 1....

You may remember we had a long weekend away a few weeks ago and from the title of this post you would be right in thinking the trip had something to do with breweries and vineyards, but that wasn't all.

We were picked up by taxi from home and transported to the nearest motorway services to join the coach which too us to our first stop, Belvoir Brewery in the Vale of Belvoir (pronounced Beaver) in Leicestershire, for a tour and tastings of their beers.

The original brewery was set up in 1995, using mostly original equipment and artefacts recovered from traditional cask ale breweries all over the country. Time honoured brewing methods are used incorporating only the finest malt and hops, including several varieties of choice whole hops from Worcester and traditionally malted best English barley.

The tour inlcuded an education video, a guided tour of the brewery and ended with a tasting session in the Sample Cellar, where we were treated to jugs of five of Belvoir Brewery's finest ales, such as Star Mild, Gordon Bennett, Beaver Best Bitter, Old Dalby Strong Ale and Star Bitter.

As you can imagine after tasting all those beers we were ready for some lunch and our next stop was Melton Mowbray, famous for it's Pork Pies and Stilton Cheese, where we had some lunch and explored the quaint streets.

Dickinson & Morris has been baking pork pies at Ye Olde Pork Pie Shoppe in Melton Mowbray since 1851.  They have the dual acclaim of being the oldest pork pie bakery and the last remaining producer of authentic Melton Mowbray pork pie based in the town centre.  In recent years, due to unprecedented demand, the baking of these pies also takes place at a larger baker located just outside Leicester. You can order their pies online here.

Stilton® Cheese derives its name from the village of Stilton, Cambridgeshire.  It was sold there to coach travellers on the Great North Road, travelling between London and Scotland.

In the 18th Century, it was recorded that cheese for the Bell Inn, Stilton was procured by a Mrs Paulet, a cheese-making farmer's wife living near Melton Mowbray, for her brother-in-law Cooper Thornhill.  He was reputed to have been the landlord of the inn at that time.  This story therefore connects Stilton® cheese-making with the area around Melton Mowbray.  Stilton® cheese may only be produced in the counties of Leicestershire, Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire and is protected by a certification trademark.  This has ultimately lead to Stilton® being awarded a Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) by the European Commission.

The phrase 'painting the town red' originated in Melton when some young aristocrats up for the hunt went on a drunken spree in the 1800s and literally painted Melton town centre red. 

Our companions, Terry and Dot, bought a couple of the famous Melton Mowbray Pork Pies and we bought some home-made chutney.

Our visit to Belvoir Brewery and Melton Mowbray over it was time to board the coach and head for our hotel, the Ramada Maidstone, which was to be our base for the weekend.

I hope you'll join me for Hops & Vines Part Two.


Lorraine said...

I am now officially ravenous thanks to you. Stilton and pork pies. I haven't got either in the house and will now have to walk to the farm shop to get some of both!
Very interesting post and sounds like it was worth going to. I'll think of you later when I eat my pie for lunch have the Stilton after my dinner this evening xxx

MorningAJ said...

Mmmmm. Pork pie is our regular Christmas Eve tea. (We get them from a farm shop in Staffordshire though - not from Melton).

We do have some yummy food on our doorsteps here in Leicestershire. I think I need an outing to find something special this weekend, now I've read your post!

tony said...

"Beeer"! [in my best Homer Simpson voice.What A Lovely Trip! Personally,I would have to sadly pass on the Pork Pies.Although I Love Them,These Days They Give Me Shocking HeartBurn! [I would have to pay a trip to the Gaviston Factory Too!]

Akelamalu said...

I could just eat a pork pie and some stilton too Lorraine :)

Pork Pie for tea on Christmas Eve is a nice tradition AJ :)

You'd have loved the "Beeeer" part Tony. Pork Pie gives me heartburn too but I love it too much to give it up. LOL

Daryl said...

What a wonderful time you are having in retirement .. now I want to know with all this pub sampling how do you keep your girlish figure?

Beach Bum said...

Great post and pictures! The beer part of the tour would have been my favorite.

Akelamalu said...

Girlish figure Daryl? (laughing hysterically!) I'm certainly having a wonderful retirement but struggling with the midriff! LOL

Glad you enjoyed it Beach, I enjoyed the beer part best too, although the rest of it was interesting. ;)

Ron said...

"The phrase 'painting the town red' originated in Melton when some young aristocrats up for the hunt went on a drunken spree in the 1800s and literally painted Melton town centre red."

Oh, how cool! I had NO IDEA!?!?

Great shots! And I so enjoyed reading about the history of this place. Those pies sound yummy!

What an adorable-looking little town!

Thanks for sharing, m'dear!


Valerie said...

This was a tour I would have enjoyed being mad on Melton Mowbray pies. You do find some interesting places to visit.

Re your comment on my blog, the cathedral post should have been saved instead of published, it was only there about two or three seconds (I was having such trouble) and you managed to spot it. That was clever. Unfortunately it got lost in the re-save. Thank you, anyway.

Akelamalu said...

I only found out about that saying recently too Ron.

Your post came up on my reader Valerie, that's how I got there quickly. :)

G-Man said...

Pork Pie, and Beaver Tasting?
Talk about a Kick-Ass Week-End!

Cloudia said...

LOVE Stilton, my Sistah!

Aloha from Honolulu

Comfort Spiral

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Melanie said...

What a wonderful post! Thank you for sharing!!!

Empress Bee (of the high sea) said...

oh what fun! and the pork pies sound wonderful!

smiles, bee

Akelamalu said...

It was G-man ;)

Me too Cloudia x

My pleasure Melanie, glad you enjoyed it. :)

It was fun and the pork pies are yummy Bee :)

CrystalChick said...

You go on such wonderfully marvelous trips!!!
Luckily, we found a local place that has ALOT of varieties of beer/ale. I'd rather go away for the weekend, but since that rarely happens I'm happy to have just an evening out!

Looking forward to hearing more....

Travis Cody said...

Looks like a lovely place!

Linda said...

Oh ... so that's where that expression comes from! I was just talking to a friend the other day about the origins of words and sayings and here you are posting one for me - yay!

I'm thinking if I sampled too many of the beers that I wouldn't be looking for lunch but a nap but then again, I am a total lightweight when it comes to alcoholic beverages!

secret agent woman said...

I'll pass on the pork pie, but happily take the cheese and beer!

nitebyrd said...

A brewery tour! AWESOME!

Pork pies - yummy!