• Haydn Williams

The Eko Brewery ride that almost wasn't... but then was

Updated: Sep 14, 2020

My first ever job was a paper round - I was 14 years old. I worked six mornings a week riding my yellow BMX, delivering about 20 newspapers.

At Christmas that paper round allowed me to buy gifts for my family for the first time. So, I headed off to Woolworths and found Terry’s Chocolate Oranges on sale for £1 each. I bought eight, took them home and wrapped them up individually.

That was early December.

As the dark days started rolling by, one advent calendar chocolate every 24 hours just wasn’t enough. Those eight chocolate oranges sat under my bed started teasing me.

After about four days, I broke. I unwrapped and scoffed one of the eight chocolate oranges.

“I’ll just buy another one” – I told myself.

Three weeks passed.

I found myself a few days out from Christmas with only one chocolate orange left. And I was forced to swallow my pride and head to Woolworths to buy seven more at twice the price.

Why am I telling you this story?

"I ordered 24 Eko Brewery beers for our Tour de Hops ride. And I got carried away. "

Well, you see, for the first time in 15 years I found myself in that exact same position.

Except this time, it wasn’t chocolate oranges. It was beer.

I ordered 24 Eko Brewery beers for our Tour de Hops ride. And I got carried away.

But do you know what.

I’m not sorry.

Because they were bloody brilliant!

The derailleuring of the first ride

As any cyclist will know, tumbles and accidents are part and parcel of cycling. They don’t happen often, but if you cycle regularly you’ve probably had one.

When I first started riding in the UK, one tip I was given was to always (if impossible to avoid a tumble) fall left. Not only does this ensure you’re less likely to fall into the middle of the road it also protects the vulnerable components of your bike.

Unfortunately for me, on the morning of the 25th July 2020 I did not heed my own advice.

On a small warm up spin ahead of the TDH Eko Brewery ride I came round a corner, caught a pothole (damn you Merton Council) and found the bike slipping out from underneath me.

Fortunately, I was left uninjured. My rear derailleur however, was left totally out of whack and completely unusable.

The only option I had left was to postpone the ride to the following weekend.

Pippin and the Palantir

Sometimes temptation gets the best of you.

A pair of fantastic beers – Eko Gold and Eko Black are sitting under your nose. And just like Pippin in the Return of the King. You get carried away and grasp them with both hands.

Luckily, when we drank the Eko beers we didn’t alert the Dark Lord Sauron to our existence.

Unfortunately for us though, we didn’t have Gandalf around to stop our tomfoolery.

Myself and a couple of friends met in the park with no intention of having a beer. But the sun was shining. And we started drinking.

Our 24 Eko Brewery beers quickly shrank to just eight by the end of the afternoon.

Eko Gold ABV: 4.9%

The Eko Gold is a real beauty, low carbonation but the coconut palm sugar gives it a sweet malty hum more akin to real ale.

As we proved on this particular weekday afternoon, you can drink this in the sun all day long.

It's 100% true what they say, when the sun is shining, nothing goes down better than an ice cold lager.

The ride is dead. Long live the ride.

Declaring that something is dead is a pastime of bloggers and marketers everywhere.

And, with only eight Eko beers remaining. There was no realistic way we could bring together a group of our thirsty Tour de Hoppers – eight beers just wouldn’t cut the mustard.

We improvised though. We adapted.

We called up a few friends from the local Wimbledon/Putney area and arranged a small meetup on Wimbledon Common. We’d bring the remaining eight beers and share them out so everyone got to try a sample of both Eko Black and Eko Gold.

I took the responsibility of cycling upon my own shoulders.

I loaded the beers up. Climbed onto my now fixed Charge – I fitted new front and rear derailleurs – and set off on two laps of Wimbledon.

Up Wimbledon Hill Road, down along Ridgway to Copse Hill and Round into Raynes Park. Then back into Wimbledon, back up Wimbledon Hill road and through the village on to the Windmill at the centre of Wimbledon Common.

Thanks to Tilly, Dave, Stephen and Katie (and Hector) for coming to join us and sampling the final bottles of the wonderful Eko Brewery beers.

Eko Black ABV: 5.0%

Eko Black is dark and malty. There's a deep smokiness in both flavour and aroma and a light body that makes it incredibly drinkable.

As someone who is a huge fan of dark beers (Porters, Stouts, Brown Ales, Black IPAs… I love em) this Eko Black is up there with one of the best i've had. It’s got loads of Malt character and a really moreish smokiness.

There’s no doubt about it, I’ll be getting my hands on more of these.

And you should too.

Not just for rainy days

"Eko Black: We could drink that beer anywhere, anytime. Come rain. Come shine. Come Snow. Come apocalypse."

In our interview last month, co-founder and head brewer Anthony Adedipe told us

“If this was a few weeks ago, we would hands down recommend the Eko Gold.

It’s a craft lager that is perfect and refreshing on a summer’s day and was very popular at the height of the sunny days we were blessed with during the lockdown.

The recent rainy days call for a smooth and smoked porter, so we recommend our Eko Black.”

Well, the sunny weather is back. And while, the Eko Gold is one hell of a summer beer.

We kind of disagree that you should save the porter for the rainy days.

We could drink that beer anywhere, anytime. Come rain. Come shine. Come Snow. Come apocalypse.

We absolutely loved it.

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