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Beers of Europe

Hello again pubcaskers. It has been a while since the last post, but are planning many more beer related activities as Spring blossoms and the weather improves, so keep checking back as hopefully we will have more frequent updates to give!

We also have a pair of podcast s to accompany our trip, you can catch our review of our visit and also the extended version where we had a tour with Derrick here.

Recently Jon, Hydsey, Lorna and Myself all took a road trip into the depths of Norfolk . This latest excursion was a bit further afield than we have travelled as of yet, all the way to Kings Lynn to visit Beers of Europe Ltd! I’d say it’s a shop, but it is actually a warehouse, and as the name suggests it is full of beers! However, not just European, there are beers from every corner of the world.

Firstly, the website. You can visit the website here. – www.beersofeurope.co.uk

They have recently upgraded their website! It’s now much easier to navigate and select beers. We spent ages browsing the beers, and glasses, and ended up with a huge shopping list!

On a good note, is the delivery charge. At just £7.49 for any order to be delivered, usually to be delivered the next day. That may sound high, but it is per order so if you wanted to pool together for a number of beers, or even a few crates than it’s not a bad delivery charge at all.

All in all, the website is great if you know what you want, and not too bad if you have a vague idea, but not the friendliest of websites to navigate if you are clueless to your drinking needs.

Of course the best way to experience Beers of Europe is to visit in person. It located on a small industrial estate in Kings Lynn. If you follow the signs towards Kings Lynn you shouldn’t miss it, although it is rather out-of-the-way. With most people having a good smart phone, GPS, or well-printed directions it’s not hard to find. Although we had all of those and still made a lovely detour through the heart of Bury.

Beers of Europe itself is essentially a large warehouse. When you enter the main doors your met with aisles of Beers. Which made me feel like a boy in a candy store. We spent the first 5 minutes walking in random directions saying wow look at this, wow that cool, wow these are amazing until we realised we needed a more rational approach. So with mass will power we started at the beginning of the first aisle, and made our way around in order. Each aisle is set out and organized very well. It begins with English beers, including many local breweries arranged by name from A-Z. It’s very difficult not to fill a trolley with beers within the first 10 minutes as the urge to just pick up every exciting looking beer is massive. But since we had a budget, and needed to be able to drive back without breaking the car, we had to just pick one or two out of the many that caught our attention. Even though our beers grew from a maximum of 10, to 12, then 15.

Nestled in with the beers are several small glasses, each branded for specific breweries in a range of shapes and sizes. They give a nice touch to the layout of the aisles. There are hundreds, upon hundreds of beers. It’s a fantastic sight! There are 3 main double-sided aisles, which must be as long as a supermarket aisle. Absolutely stocked full of bottles. It’s not until you turn the corner at the end of aisle one, and look through the small door you realise the scale of the warehouse. The main shop which seems huge, actually only takes up 1/5th of the space. The rest of the warehouse is used for storage and is full of crates of beer. We were lucky enough to have a tour round the warehouse.

After spending an age browsing the shop floor itself, slowly filling our trolley with a range of weird and wonderful beers, we were lucky enough to get to speak to the Director of Beer of Europe,  Derrick Clark.

He was kind enough to explain how the beers are arranged, how the warehouse works, and gave us the personal tour of the warehouse. One thing that he told us which I thought was a great aspect was that, sometimes they order in beers which they rarely even sell a crate of a month, but because they’re unusual, or because someone somewhere likes them and can’t get them anywhere else, he is happy to stock them. He stated quite openly that not all beers were to his taste, but if you come in with something new, and say ‘Hey try this’ he would be more than happy to try it, and even stock it if it was good enough. I fully agreed with his views on if people don’t try anything new, how will they ever know if they like different beers?

After the tour of the warehouse, we decided to ask for a tour of the shop. After walking around it for around an hour, we wanted him to point out the many things we must have missed! All I can say,. is that Derrick knows his beers. He has a wealth of knowledge on so many beers in his shop. He knows the background to many of the breweries, and was excited and enthusiastic about each beer he recommended to us. So much so we got to a stage where we would be rushing around after him as he showed us another beer he had just remembered! It was a fantastic experience, and our beer trolley got even more laden as he recommended a number of different beers.

The extent of beers is hard to describe. There all the beers you would expect from English breweries. Then there is a huge Belgian range, with so many different fruit beers. There is also an equally huge German beer section, ranging from light weisbeirs to the smoky German beers Jon loves so much.

In all honesty I could have probably spent the entire day listening to Derrick talk about the shop, along with the beers, and also the spirits that he stocks. He also gave us a little history on the business. They have now been running for 11 years, and were worried that it would never take off! He explained to us they had invested around £50k into the initial business, and had expected to lose it, however it seems they are doing very well! He was also  sharing with us his plans on future improvement. As mentioned earlier the shop itself is only 1/5th of the overall warehouse. He wants to double this to make the store twice the size, and also set up a bar for people to try the beers. Again I was very impressed by his take on letting people try the beers before they buy. I had to completely agree that with the normal beers, for around £2 a bottle, you can risk buying one to try. However with some of the more expensive beers, around £6-£8 a bottle, you wouldn’t want to risk buying one if you were unsure you would like it. And rather than just say, oh well that a risk you take, like I would expect a more commercial beer retailer to do, Derrick wants to be able to offer people a taste of these, so they can try them before they buy. This is especially true for the spirits, where people don’t want to commit to an expensive bottle before even trying it. Which I think is a great idea, and will definitely warrant another visit to see it all completed, and of course to stock up on beers again.

We all came away with a good haul of beers to try, each of us had a lovely glass that caught our eye, and everyone got a cheeky discount. Plus I’d like to think we knew maybe one or two things more about beer than we did before we entered.

I would definitely suggest any beer lover, or anyone even casually interested in trying different tastes to spend a day and take a trip up there. It’s a lovely place, friendly staff who are more than happy to help, and would be a lovely day out. And we must have passed 10 good-looking lunch pubs that you could stop at on the way there or back! Ideal!

Also, here’s a link to the day on pictures! http://flic.kr/s/aHsjz56PeV

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This entry was posted on March 14, 2012 by in Days Out, Podcasts and tagged , , , , , .
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