Foods & Ales

One thing we have not lacked is the ability to eat and to eat well.  Being in a market town allows us to sample and purchase foods directly from the farmers twice a week.  Yes there are a couple large grocers, which help us with everyday needs, but we are now settling into a nice routine where we can pick up bunches of beets and bags of potatoes from a farmer who lives up the road, to fresh meats from local butchers.  Because of this we are able to eat healthily and happily.

BBQing chicken on one of our rare rainy days.

Homemade country style chicken pie. I used an olde English recipe for this and it was absolutely delicious.

Food prices are, on average, higher than what we are used to, but it also depends on how we shop.  Sausages from the mobile butchers are cheaper than from the grocery, as well as the vegetables from the farmers.  But in the grocers we see that items such as milk or household items, the costs are higher.  Petrol is the real killer, about $8 a gallon.  Luckily my car gets decent gas mileage.

Since we only have small, under the counter fridge, we find ourselves needing to shop at the very least twice a week, and Rebecca takes care of this most of the time.  We would buy more veggies, but there is no place to store them, but getting out into the markets is a fun experience for all of us, and now that we are acclimated to the town it is not so nerve racking making conversation with the people since we can understand and banter with them much easier these days.

City market on a sunny afternoon.

If you know Rebecca and I, you know that we enjoy drinking beers.  Having both worked in the brewing industry at various points in our lives, we appreciate the craft and ingenuity that go into creating craft beers.  Upon our arrival we shopped at the grocers for ales, buying what was most affordable.  For obvious reasons, most of these were average in flavour.  Big names such as Boddington’s, John Smith, Guinness, Carling, et all dominate the store shelves.  But digging deeper and exploring the city more, we have found an abundance of small batch brewers and their wares.

A selection of bottled beers we have been trying out.

Green Devil has been the closest ale to what we are used to in Portland. Very hoppy and refreshing. Definitely our favourite bottled beer, but it costs about 2.5 pounds per bottle.

We have noticed that beers here are not very hoppy at all.  Even those labeled as IPA do not have much hop profile.  Also, alcohol percentages in the beers run from about 3.4% to 4.5%.  In Oregon, the beers we like run over 6%, and having a couple is enough.  Alcoholism is a problem here, but I have a hard time imagining someone drinking 10 pints so that they could get drunk, because I would gain 3 pounds doing so.  We have tried some ciders as well, but they are not really exciting us.

We did visit a local brewery called Belvoir Brewery, up the road in Old Dalby.  The vale nearby is the Belvoir vale (pronounced beever), with Belvoir Castle up high on the hill.

Taking a brewery tour at Belvoir Brewery.

Beers here are brewed in open fermentation tanks, a traditional style.

Sampling the wares. My squinty eyes are due to removing my sunglasses, not the ales. The beers are all cask conditioned and are pulled from a beer engine into your glass. Carbonation is slight and beer is served at cellar temps. Only the big breweries brew lagers, which are served cold with lots of carbonation (think Budweiser).

There is a beer festival in Melton that we are looking forward to.  The owners of Belvoir Brewing will be helping out and hope to see us there.  We brought some coasters from Oregon that we can hand out to brewers that we meet.


2 thoughts on “Foods & Ales

  1. We love your details. When we were in England (68-69) with two girls under 5 we had, well I say we but I mean Carol had, to shop every other day as our fridge was very very small. Keep up the good work!

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