More Than Just A Pub...
This weekend celebrates 10 years of The Alehouse in Chelmsford, any independent business getting to this milestone is some achievement let alone one that has had to survive the past couple of years. Over the past decade The Alehouse has brought me many a close friend, continuous good times and more than a couple of savage hangovers!
Before being under a railway line in an archway was cool, my best friend and I first made the small journey from where we lived to check out this new real ale mecca. I can't remember if it was in its first year or second, but even from a "Craft Beer Journey" The Alehouse plays an important part in my story due to having my head blown away by a bottle of Tiny Rebel Hadouken. Although I was accustomed to trying loads of different beers it wasn't till that moment I really experienced what loads of US Hops could really do to a person and transformed my view on beers ever since. From that first visit I was hooked.
It was The Alehouse where the SX Bottleshare was born. Looking back I realise how lucky we were to be given the green light on meeting in a venue with our own beer and sharing these drinks around with new friends. Through attending the SX Bottleshare at The Alehouse I have made some of my closest friends, expanded my knowledge on beer and sampled some outrageously amazing beverages. We all started as beer buddies and now this posse of beer swigging nutters are my first point of call whenever I fancy a beer out, need advise or in need of a friendly face.
Back then Alex was the manager, we all become very good friends with him and was always welcomed with a smile. When the time came for Alex to move on fear spread through us like wild fire about how a new person could come in and take his place. This is where we first met Terry. The pre mentioned fear about a new manager was very soon put to rest when Tel came in and instantly made changes that was big improvements. The list of changes that made us go "huh, why didn't we do that before" grew rapidly! It is some task to take a place we truly loved and somehow kept taking it to new levels. To think how far he has taken the place from the amount of customers spending their hard earned cash, to the beer selection and ever growing amount of keg lines, really does deserve praise. Also from a personal point of view, Terry has always really supported me since I have worked within the beer industry, ordering the beers I sell and for that I am truly thankful. Terry has put together several incredible working teams over the years, including many staff who have gone on to become friends on my side of the bar as well and I have to give a big shout out to Chloe who each and every time I walk through those arched doorways welcomes me with some of the most ridiculously phrased greetings. A big thank you also has to go to Caroline for looking after the cask beer perfectly but also for putting up with us all since the very start 10 years ago!
6 years ago I bought a house in Chelmsford, now it would be small porky to say that in the back of my mind The Alehouse didn't have slight influence in making this decision, moving closer to a place that I so frequently visited surely would have its benefits. It was here that The Alehouse really did become more than just somewhere to get a decent beer. I would pop in to say hello between trains and buses, a HQ meeting place to see old friends, a New Years Eve venue and more. After a terrible few lockdowns it was The Alehouse we all missed and as soon as we were allowed to sit outside, in groups of six, sitting in sleeping bags to keep us warm, it was The Alehouse we all rushed back to! There are far too many memories to share (a few memories that cannot me remembered too!) in one blog post but I am sure from all the gushing emotions you are starting to get the point!
So this weekend I raise a glass to Terry and Alex, all the members of staff who have worked there over the years, all my close friends I have made from the SX Bottleshare, the regulars that I have chatted with at the bar like James, Dave Hewitt and Andy, to anyone who has come up to me and said they love Leigh on Sea Brewery beers while I am in LoSB merch, to those Twitter or Untappd users like Matt and Radio City Dan who I have gone on to meet there in person and all those that I have forgot to mention. You have all made The Alehouse more than just a pub, it is a home away from home...
Here's to another 10 years.