2011 was the first year that Spyke Golding had not been involved with the Nottingham Beer Festival. Friends, colleagues and acquaintances were, however, be able to raise a glass and remember the man who was sometimes referred to as 'Mr Nottingham CAMRA'.
Spyke was, for many years, CAMRA’s brewery contact for Shipstone brewery and his love for Shipstones bitter was well known. In recognition of this, Castle Rock Brewery launched a tribute ale for Spyke with a beer that is modelled on that fine Nottingham beer.
Adrian Redgrove, Head Brewer produced his own take on a similar style of beer that is suitably dry and hoppy at 3.9% ABV and using what else but Goldings hop variety!
The Beer became available in many of the Castle Rock pubs from 1st October and Nottingham CAMRA joined with the brewery to create a promotional min-pub/beer crawl. By visiting just six of the Castle Rock pubs and having at least a half pint of Spyke Golding's Ale in each pub, participants were able to claim a free beer at the Beer Festival on producing the special promotional token card. Only one completed card per person was accepted despite the brews obvious popularity.
The all-important transfer of the precious ale in preparation for bottling - the brave man is Steve Westby - Chair of Nottingham CAMRA!!
The Vat and Fiddle
'The Vat and Fiddle' featuring 'The Goldings' (centre of the picture below the Castle Rock Logo) - image courtesy of Castle Rock Brewery
The press launch of the new Visitor Centre and Golding's Room at Castle Rock Brewery and the Nottingham Robin Hood Beer and Cider Festival was held at the Vat and Fiddle on Monday, 4th October 2011. Whilst enjoying the hospitality of Castle Rock Brewery and sampling, amongst other delights the first brew of Spyke's Ale, those who were lucky enough to attend were also privileged to view the two vast Whisky Casks in which the Festival version of the Ale was being conditioned.
For your enjoyment a Gallery of photographs commemorating this unique brew are shown below.
The all-important barrel is wheeled in ceremoniously:
For comparison purposes, the all-important barrel stands head and shoulders above a selection of 9s (nines) and 18s (eighteens).
Well, here's something interesting going on ..... and somebody looking as if he's been caught in the act!
The two barrels safely behind glass for everyone to admire (and sigh with longing that they couldn't taste this particular brew!)
The notice says it all "The two oak whisky casks behind this window contain 100 gallons of Spyke Golding's Ale. This will be maturing for over a month and take on the flavours of the whisky. The only place this beer will be available is at the CAMRA Robin Hood Beer Festival in October at Nottingham Castle. Make sure you don't miss it." - You have been warned ......
A closer view of the Castle Rock display and the framed letter:
And here is a copy of the letter :