Community pop up cafe @ Westgate Hall

Today I visited this venue and after finding out that the entrance that they use is round the other side of the building ie not the one next to the Curzon cinema; I went inside and was greeted by a pleasant lady. There were more nice ladies inside who asked what I wanted to drink and eat and after that business was concluded, I started talking to Karen who was on my table.  She had a curry puff with salad and potato wedges while I dined on falafel with the same accompanying veg and coffee. There was the slight accident of everyone who ordered coffee actually got what we all thought was Turkish style but was in fact just made with ground coffee but I have made the same mistake myself so I wasn’t one to grumble here.

It turns out that Karen worked for Relate so was a counsellor by trade and also knew another Karen that was there who ran Leonara’s Bistro. There was another lady there called Claire and she helped to run the cafe so was pleased that word was getting out about her latest venture.

The Westgate Hall put on many activities throughout the year on a very regular basis with ceroc which is a combination of jive and salsa being on Tuesdays and salsa on Thursdays. They are also doing a vintage clothes sale on Saturday with them being retailed by the kilo so if your interested, you will be sure of a good deal.

The pop up cafe happens every Tuesday at 1230pm and sells vegetarian and vegan food on a pay what you can afford basis. There are drinks, main courses and puddings on offer.

You will meet a cross section of Canterbury at lunch time that you may possibly never meet otherwise so it’s always worth trying out something new as you never know what may come from it.


Recent beery activities

I had some Evil Twin Disco Beer as well as some Bible Belt Even More which is a collab between Prairie Ales and Evil Twin. I liked the first but I couldn’t get the complexity of flavours that my husband was experiencing so I let him finish it as he really liked it. We both really liked the second one as it was stunning. It was an imperial stout with coffee, chocolate, chillies and vanilla. That is the order in which I tasted the ingredients and there strength in the overall drinking process. This is a 13% stout but you wouldn’t know it. I look forward to tasting the bomb from Prairie Ales as that is the other half of this mix up. Even more jesus is an awesome beer as I have previously said. This one was chosen specifically for me whereas the first was more for himself. These were from Craft Beer Company in Brighton.

At our latest rendezvous at the Bottle Shop we decided to have some IPAs as we had been drinking a lot of stouts and porters recently. I had Kernel Mosaic Zeus where he had Kernel Cascade Citra Simcoe I believe. There both really good as usual but I think mine was just a bit better. Since we were having more vibrant, lively beers in terms of fresh flavours I then had a rye IPA Rysing Tides from Siren. I had sampled this when it was on tap recently and was really good but something went a bit wrong in this particularly bottle as it didn’t taste right. Sam remarked a couple of times as we were sharing beers that it tasted skunky or of weed. We drank it but put it down to the fact that this one must have gotten oxidised somewhere along the line and it was well within its sell by date having only been produced in October and valid till next October. I thought about having the Weird Beard Something Something Darkside next but the last beer affected me more than I expected and was off putting so I don’t think we had anymore and went home since it was a quiet night and part of the reason of going to the Bottle Shop is to get out of the house and talk to people. Company is a good thing to reassure you that your not going crazy or turning into an alcoholic thinking, reading, writing and drinking this much beer.

Market Research

You would think at this time of year there would be a lot going on, but opportunities from SuperSavvyMe (Proctor and Gamble or P and G) to try out their latest products have been a bit thin on the ground for a while now. Thankfully I had a coupon from Tesco Orchard try out the Tesco Finest & Christmas food to order range. This is something that I was able to use twice last night as I got £1.50 off some Lamb Steaks as well as being able to get pulled pork shoulder for £1 with the £5 off coupon. I have also had their Clubcard money off coupon and a price guarantee coupon so have been getting lots of fuel save coupons too. This means most of my most recent food shops have come from Tesco which makes a change from my usual Asda shops.

Sometimes I enter the daily competitions that Glamour have and get all sorts of samples from them. I got bored of that as it wasn’t special anymore although the products constantly changed. My mum liked it when she would get surprise though because I didn’t tell as I never knew whether she was going to get them or not.

Most of the giveaways are repeated so once you have got the item it doesn’t seem right to continually enter and deprive other people of the chance of winning.

It is nice when you can help others out though by giving them coupons, products or getting them to sign up so they can enjoy the benefits too. Its a good way for students/housewives to earn extra cash etc.

Surprise, Surprise

That is what happened to me yesterday as some friends turned up at the Indian that my husband had booked for dinner which was nice. He did it just for the look on my face as I had no idea and was feeling quite bored and lonely. Unfortunately since they were both coming down with colds they couldn’t stay and left the next morning after breakfast.

We did go to the bottle shop but just to pick up beers and my friends were not interested in beer even though I introduced Manveen to Belgian beer last year at my hen party at La Trappiste and Bottle Shop have Belgian beer. Best not to drink if your unwell though. I had the Buxton red raspberry rye which is a Berliner Weiss style beer that’s sour but not too sour as it has oats in it as well. Most Berliner Weiss beers are quite sour as that’s just the style. Sam bought some Kernel beer the India Porter and the Export Stout London 1890 as well as an IPA the Ella Apollo Simcoe I believe. He had some Cobra at the restaurant too. The Ancient Raj is a very nice authentic curry house in Canterbury that we go to occasionally. Its the best one that I know of but haven’t tried any others as when you know the best why bother with the rest?

He had the Weird Beard holy hopping hell batch 4 and the Victory Dirk Wolf as they have a new batch in. He thought that the 3h4 was not as good as it had been but that the dirk wolf was spot on. He had the Kernel IPA the next day along with Ella, Citra, Apollo, Simcoe.

Canterbury Green hop festival and the atmosphere of the Bottle Shop

For three days a year Fri-Sun in late September as part of the Canterbury Food and drink fair sometimes called the Euro Fair, there is a green hop festival. Green hops are hops that have been freshly picked and made into beer very quickly. A lot more quickly than usual as the beer usually has time to develop its flavours and can be hopped at various stages, have special ingredients added or put in special barrels.

They had quite a few beers (approx 30) available to try most of which were pale ales due to the short time frame but there was the odd amber, saison, IPA, red and even a stout. Most of the local breweries were represented here, Goody Ales, Westerham, Wantsum, The foundry/Canterbury Brewers, Mad Cat, Caveman, Larkins, Pig and Porter, Gadds, Shepherd Neame. I sampled the porter from Pig and Porter which is Alex of the Bottle shop’s dad. It was quite nice. I drank the red which was very dark from Caveman and reminded me of a Beavertown Smog Rocket. I had a beer from Larkins earlier on but it wasn’t very good and I had the Gadds beer first which was quite nice. Sam had some of the other beers which were ok but were not really his thing which is odd as he likes intense powerfully hopped beers but with American not EKG (East Kent Goldings) as they were calling it. Shelley had some too but was disappointed that they ran out of the one that she wanted to try.

While we were there we met up with some of the brewers from the Canterbury Amateur Brewers Society. They had there own beer brewed with there own hops which was very smooth and had an apple taste to it which was quite bizarre as they didn’t intend that at all. It was a bit like a cross between a beer and a cider. I still intend to meet up with them on Wednesday to see them all but whether that will happen I don’t know. At least I can talk to them about Computer Science being that there interested in Raspberry Pi and writing code for Android.

I also also saw Zoe 2 days running at the Fair who works in the Childrens Trust Charity Shop. She is not feeling too well so hopefully she will be better soon.

On a sidenote about the food me and Shelley had some very nice curried goat from the Seychelles stall and Sam had chilli balls and a chicken wrap. We also got to watch a rather intoxicated lady have a massive argument with what I believe to be her partner. They was no reasoning with her so security escorted them both out. Proper Jeremy Kyle style entertainment.

At the Bottle Shop we were joined by student Sam as we call them to differentiate him from my husband and he had an in depth chat with Shelley about Anthropology as that is what she studied at Kent University. We also chatted to Stephan who was working but since the Bottle Shop now finally have 4 picnic benches outside to sit down on, it wasn’t as much as usual. One of our Bristol friends was there although he comes from Canterbury and was telling Sam and Shelley about his business that he runs with his friend Ashley. Alex the veg man was also there and we had a conversation about books and beards. Andy was there too and joined in our conversations.

As to the beer we had, I have found that since fresh beer is the best you have to keep switching the beer and breweries that you have to follow the trends that the breweries are into at the moment. Also there is a beer for every mood and moment. I said previously that I wasn’t interested in the Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout but I drank it and it was actually very nice. Stephan recommended it too. I had Weird Beard Black Perle which is a coffee milk stout at 3.8% which was a very good idea considering the amount of beer we had even though it was spread out over quite a long period of time with food and water. I also did a new thing which was going back to light after you have finished the dark. This is possible if the dark is not that flavourful and there wasn’t any other darks available as they don’t have any coffee IPAs at the moment due to the fast turnover. The beer I shared with my hubby was Kernel IPA Citra and Chinook. He really does excel himself sometimes that Kernel as it was lovely and fruity. I wouldn’t have thought that from the hops especially since there is no Mosaic in it. Sam had another 2 Weird Beard Holy Hoppin’ Hell batch 4 and bought Kernel Export Stout which we haven’t drunk yet and we did overdose ourselves on beer a bit so maybe Monday drink this when Bottle Shop is closed. Shelley had her favourite Pressure Drop Wu Gang chops the tree so 4 over the weekend and Weird Beard Mariana Trench and Brew by Numbers 11/02 Saison amarillo and Orange. She has similar tastes to Lucy possibly because they both smoke.

Bestie time and the re-emergence of Weird Beard

My maid of honour from my wedding last year and one of my best friends came down to visit me this weekend so madness ensues pretty quickly. I went to the Freshers fair, food and drink festival, waitrose and City Space as already described then went home to await her arrival. Sam had been taking a regional sales manager out to lunch which had been made more difficult with the arrival of all the students as you need a classy, quiet place to conduct business but I think they finally got in to the Goods Shed to eat.

We decided to go to Tamago as it has nice Japanese food but as its too small we decided that we didn’t wish to wait and went to Supernoodles instead. They have a new menu with new food and drink. They also have a loyalty card now. I tried there bubble tea which is the nicest one I have had. It was a Honey Dew (melon) milk tea with Mango (juice) juicy balls which is not the usual semolina. They have big portions and since I was not feeling very hungry after the free Dominoes, coffee etc that I had during the day I had a quarter crispy duck and my husband had the original formation which is seaweed, prawn toast, spring rolls and spare ribs with sweet chilli and satay sauce but its not the usual kind. There quite authentic at Supernoodles and if you can’t eat all your meal you can take it away in a foam box costing 50 p. Its good value and its popular with students. Sam felt rather full so cancelled his Thai yellow curry which was fine but Shelley had Seaweed and Soft Shell crab which is quite nice when in season but a bit too salty out of season which is now due to the batter they use.

Then we went to the Bottle shop and Lucy was on. I had seen her at the Freshers Fair, signed up for the Real Ale and Cider Society to get 10% off but had not paid the membership fee yet so couldn’t get the discount yet. I was surprised that Lucy was on 2 days running and I apologised for my drunken behaviour the previous day. Other societies also get the discount like the History society but just signing up to receive email is not sufficient.

We got to talk to a girl called Laura who studies botany and was telling us about the properties of Lavender and Hops which was very interesting. She was with other guys that we see there quite a lot.

As to beers we had Tool Likeweisse which is a weisse style beer that I had cold and was possibly a mistake as initially it was just sour but the flavour profile developed as it got warmer and it was quite nice later. I also had Pressure Drop Wu Gang chops the tree which is a strange name for a beer and the bottle label has chinese willow pattern on it, in its characteristic blue. It really does taste like sausages as Drew said. It is a foraged herb hefeweisse and is unique in its tastes. Shelley liked it as well which is good as she is usually a Fosters drinker. I have tried to educate her over years and its gradually happening now she can afford to come down here after paying her car off.

At home I had a Black Isle Red Kite because I was still feeling up to drinking much and that’s a good reliable beer that is cheap and I like it. Sam had Weird Beard Hit the lights a mixed up IPA as he once again forgot that he doesn’t like that and I didn’t remind him of the fact. I did however say that they have Brooklyn Black Chocolate stout in again and in March as we were starting our journey it wasn’t very good but it might be different this batch. I’m not a fan of Brooklyn Brewery based on the the beers I have tried so far (lager, stout, saison) but there maybe one I like as they have quite a selection although it is quite expensive as Drew has been promoting them on Facebook. I will wait to see what Alex says about the Sorachi Ace as he took one home for his dad.

Shelley had the ever reliable Mariana Trench as Lucy was helping her choose and was going to have the Black Isle Blonde but had the Pressure Drop instead. I think the brew by numbers IPA 0507 motueka and pacific jade was hers too as I don’t like motueka. At home Sam had Weird Beard Fade to Black as he likes that to finish with a darker beer. He also had the Kernel Black IPA.