Best kept secrets and hidden gems have a habit of finally exploding into the public domain. So Farm Trip may count as a wider coming of age for Rivington Brewing Co. Proof of the pudding? Tickets sold out in a flash for all five days of this craft beer ‘Woodstock’ with over 50 different guest beers on offer.
Ben Stubbs and his brewtap team will be praying for an Indian summer for the event, running from Wednesday, September 29, to Sunday, October 3. The hilltop that hosts the traditional family farm, a camp site and one of the UK’s best craft breweries is idyllic in the sunshine with its views of Winter Hill and Rivington Pike, but squally weather will send you rushing for the sanctuary of the marquee.
Fog? Not a problem; just neck it. Never Known Fog Like It, 5.2% New England pale ale, is the standard bearer for a beer range that wears its American influences on its sleeve. Matthew Curtis, who I interviewed about his essential new book, Modern British Beer, chooses Days of Candy as his benchmark Rivington brew. It’s a west Coast style, ie clear, grapefruity, resinous, making ample use of Hallertau Blanc, Mosaic, Simcoe and Chinook. It’s been a lovely stalwart since Ben opened the brewery in 2014 with his farmer brother-in-law Mick Richardson, but I go with the crowd in favouring Fog (hopped with with Citra, Mosaic, Simcoe & Chinook).
Even before UK craft aficionados fell head over heels for murky, juicy brews inspired by East Coast USA I invariably ordered it when I trekked up to Rivington’s legendary Tap Beneath The Trees summer weekends. The walk past the three reservoirs (above) is the best route. The woodland setting was as intoxicating as the brews from the makeshift bar – IPAs, saisons, porters, barley wines, even a Grisette (a farmhouse style from the Northern French mining region). It all signalled a magical new chapter for Home Farm, in the same hands for 10 generations. The Farm Trip is just the same beer adventure writ large.
Rivington Brewing Co, Horrobin Ln, Adlington, Chorley PR6 9HE. Tap open Wed-Sun. No tent stay 2021. Caravan/trailer, tent/motor home only.