Beer and Ale Tasting
I was extremely surprised by the thought that my kids put into Mother's Day last year. It was such an unusual idea that I never would have guessed their plan was to send me and their Dad to a beer tasting event. Both me and my husband are from the north of England and appreciate finely brewed beers and ales. We are always searching for pubs throughout the country that have their own brands of distinct beer.
The kids kept it a complete secret, only telling us that they were taking us out to lunch and we should dress casually. Imagine my surprise when a black limo pulled up to next to the house. I have never travelled in a limo and could not believe it was for us.
The driver was carrying a dozen red roses and a bottle of champagne. He handed the roses to me and the champagne to my husband. The driver opened the door for us and we got in. My son and daughter waved us off with a smile as the limo pulled away. My husband poured us each a glass of champagne and we sat back, relaxed and enjoyed the journey, laughing about how clever our children had been.
The event was to take place in an historic local brewery, established over 200 years ago and set in a rural and picturesque location. A guide began by giving us an introductory talk on the 'nature and history of beer in the United Kingdom', including information about the brewing process and the key ingredients hops, barley, yeast and water.
We were instructed on how to taste beer using taste, smell and sight. We tasted a range of lagers, bitters stouts and ales. It was tremendous fun attempting to identify the taste and aroma characteristics of certain beers. I particularly enjoyed a full bodied malty Scottish ale which was a deep chestnut brown and had a hint of honey in it's finish….. absolutely delicious. A selection of snacks was served in conjunction with the tasting but after a few hours had passed we were getting rather ravenous for real food. We hopped back in the limo and headed for a local country pub. We found a small cozy table next to a roaring open fire and ordered a Ploughman's lunch with some tangy regional cheese, tasty freshly baked bread and a cool glass of light ale.
Unknown to us there was more to come. The limo chauffeur informed us that there was one more surprise that the kids had arranged. We drove a short distance to a hot air balloon launch site. Having never flown in a balloon before I was slightly apprehensive, but the fear faded into memory as we began our ascent and drifted above rolling hills of the beautiful Yorkshire countryside.
After the balloon ride we climbed back into the limo and drove back home. Our kids had really done us proud. We ordered prints of our flight that had been taken by the Hot Air Balloon company and I had them framed.