Tag Archives: beer

Fountain Head Beer Festival

You must be thinking by now, “why don’t you just pack up and move to Devon”? I know, I know. I’m working on it.

The arrival of June starts the count down to Branscombe’s annual Fountain Head Beer Festival. In this tiny little village nestled deep in a Devon valley, 2 pubs and a post office serve the villagers from day to day. Being miles from the nearest town and needing four wheels to get anywhere, life can be pretty limiting.

That is until summer when villagers come to life and open their arms (and their village) to thirsty, folky festival goers. Of the two pubs, The Fountain Head and The Masons Arms, the Fountain kick things off with their infamous Beer Festival.

Revellers like this one join the cue for the local ales and ciders lined up in their barrels behind the makeshift bar.

Even Ozzie’s venture over to join in the fun.

The beers start flowing and the music begins. The makeshift dance floor is taken over by fine country men and their wellies. Friday night draws to an end after the bands encore and inevitably ,the rain starts pouring for our drunken decent back to the house.

Saturday morning starts with breakfast fit for a king and a large cup of coffee on the terrace. Around midday, after a stroll to the beach with the dogs, day two begins in full British fashion.

A game of Rummikub.

Of course, I lost.

After several bottles of Pimms, its time to hop next door to join in the festivities. I choose my new favourite H&M dress, H&M Fedora and Zara booties.

Did a little dance…

And pranced into the tent like a musical fairy.

There weren’t many other pictures from the Saturday evening, mainly due to an afternoon of drinking bottle after bottle of Pimms. It all ended in a bit of a haze and covered in mud.

And my last view from the village is this one. Hobbling to grab my camera with a severe hangover to snap this picture of what life is all about.

venice, part 1

The best thing about staying outside the “big smoke”, is the calm before the storm. Having had a 6am flight on Thursday morning and the long commute from Bournemouth to London, then Venice through to Lido we were feeling pretty lagged. Luckily, Lido was the the most relaxing place we visited when in Venice.

Lined with Gelato bars, Pizza take-away’s and gorgeous “Spritz” serving cafés, Lido is the place to be for a taste of “real” Italy when in Venice. Situated just south of Venice itself, Lido is lined with long, beautiful beaches and locals living their day to day lives on the back of their bikes.After locating the nearest Pizzaria, we lounged out in the seating area which lines the main street of Lido. With a local beer in one hand and a slice of margarita pizza in the other, I was in my element.

Pizza’s in Italy are even better than I expected. In the majority of take-out’s, you can see the pizza being made from the dough to the tomato sauce. However, trying to choose your perfect pizza is not so easy, hence my easy choice!

After beers and pizza, we rolled into the next cafe. The menu was no easier and that wasn’t just translating the Italian. From Gelato to home made chocolate cakes, this place had everything and was soon to be our favourite hangout.

Gorgeous heart shaped Latte’s at €1 a pop were irresistible.

But there was one reason I kept coming back.

Just look it. Look at the gorgeous Italian milk chocolate wrapped around a log of Nutella. It was something sent from the heavens.

After watching our first Venetian sunset in Lido, we walked back to our hotel naturally picking up more pizza for the evening. Little did we know what we had in store for tomorrow…

time for a brew…

And no, its not that kind of brew. I only drink coffee I’ll have you know.

Anyway, I’m back! Refreshed, re-focused and maybe still a ickle-little bit hungover. If I could put this weekend in a jar, it would be the perfect medicine for feeling down in the dumps. There is just something about being in the countryside, where you feel like nothing in the world can get to you. We were staying at a brew-house in the home of Otter Brewery, so naturally we went for a little tour.

First and foremost, I hit a new milestone in my life. I poured my first pint.

I followed the three musketeers into the barn, armed with our pints, and began learning how the ale is brewed. It really is a fascinating process that requires a lot of time and accuracy.

It’s very clinical inside, chlorine smelling and aluminium for as far as the eye can see. Otter make over 4000 barrels of ale every day using traditional brewing methods. They also recycle the majority of their waste to local pig farmers. The water that is used from the spring is also recycled and cleaner through massive ponds which eventually makes it’s way back into the spring.

The grain and hops are sourced from local producers and the yeast is over 15 years old.

Last time I’d seen beer is this scale was at the Oktoberfest. There we’re thousands of barrels ready to be shipped out to pubs. The three musketeers tried their hand at lifting them.

One musketeer found the ultimate “man-machine” in a forklift truck.

The ethics and production of Otter ale is wonderful. Based in the heart of the Devonshire countryside, this beer is made with nothing but heart and care for the environment.

My favourite part of the tour was the barn bar where we spent the rest of our evening. A little wooden shack with a projector screen TV, a free bar and a table tennis table- what more could a girl want?

We talked ourselves to sleep under the starry nights sky.

The next morning, I had a wonder around the grounds. With a heated swimming pool and a beautiful stone cottage, it makes the perfect weekend getaway.

On our drive back to Branscombe, the views in the valleys were spectacular. Rolling English countryside for miles and miles.

The rest of the weekend went by in a flash. We were back in Branscombe, basking in the sun. I drank Malibu reading my book while the three Musketeers played with their new three way chess board.

Follow me on Instagram for more where these pictures are from.

I’m feeling thoroughly rejuvenated. They do say the best things in life are free.