We used to call him Woolpack Dave, because he ran a pub called the Woolpack, and wrote a thoughtful blog on life as a publican, which earned him the runner-up spot to Young Dredge in Best Use of New Media at last year's Guild of Beer Writers Awards.
Yeah, he looks friendly. And he is. Most of the time.
But Dave also brewed in his cellar, and soon realised that making rather than selling the stuff was where his true vocation lay. It is a statistical fact 79% of all brewers north of Birmingham are in fact called Dave, so Dave fit right in.
Now, just because he no longer runs a pub called the Woolpack and instead runs a the Hardknott Brewery, he expects us to call him Hardknott Dave instead of Woolpack Dave. Well, I suppose it'll catch on, but he'll always be Woolpack Dave to his longtime followers.
Anyway, Dave his bringing his beers to London next week, with his long-suffering partner Woolpack/Hardknott Ann (Following them both on Twitter is like eavesdropping on an online George and Mildred style marriage sitcom. Sitting across from them in the pub while Ann rolls her eyes at some of Dave's observations and they bicker over the remains of the packed lunches Ann lovingly prepared for their day out is like being front row in a really funny Alan Bennett play).
Come and meet them at the Rake next week and you'll see what I mean. They'll be there from 4pm onwards next Monday, 28th June, talking about the beers on offer.
These consist of three ales on hand pump:
- Fusion - a 4% ginger beer that has had chilli added to the mix.
- Dark Energy - a 4.9% 'sort of a stout perhaps, dark and fruity dry hops' in Dave's words
- Continuum - their 4% 'standard' beer, dry hopped in the cask
And in bottle there's Granite (Barley Wine style) and Aether Blaec (Islay whisky barrel-aged stout).
Then only one of these beers I've tasted so far is the Aether Blaec, but it's one of the finest whisky-aged beers I've had - packed full of flavour, but incredibly smooth and welcoming. Dave's an independently-minded bloke, and I suspect all the above beers will carry a personal streak, something that could possibly become a bit of a Hardknott trademark.
See you there.