An unlikely candidate for a source of hard to get bottled beers has emerged over the past couple of years in the form of the Oddbins chain of wine merchants. The group has been through some pretty turbulent times recently, and at one stage it even looked as it might have gone under. At its height the group operated 158 stores, but this has now been whittled down to just 37 outlets, one of which is in Tunbridge Wells, just up the hill from the station.
I called in the other evening, ostensibly to pick up a few bottles of Old Dairy Snow Top, the brewery’s excellent winter warmer. Unfortunately they had sold out, despite having just had a new delivery, but I was still able to peruse the fine selection of unusual bottles which line the shelves, and select something else to tickle my taste buds. As well as other Old Dairy beers, there are offerings from the likes of Celt Experience, Redchurch, Rocky Head, East London Brewery, London Fields, Moncada and Windsor & Eton.
I was on my way to a CAMRA social, so didn’t want too much extra weight to carry. In the end I picked up a Celt Experience Dark Age (Mild) 4.0%, a Shoreditch Blonde 4.5% from Redchurch Brewery plus a Rocky Head Pale Ale at 6.5%, and shall enjoy getting stuck into them over the Christmas period. In the meantime, why not take a look on the company’s website for details of their special offer, mixed cases of “Local Beers”.