Long before the internet was invented or Ebay and Amazon ruled the world, there was mail order. Those not old enough to remember what mail order is, it’s when you wanted to buy something from a magazine and you had to order it by mail. That’s right, you had to write a letter and send off a cheque.
A hobby I enjoyed when I was younger was the art of home brewing. Real beer made at home from a recipe that could leave you comatose after only a couple of glasses! I was immersed in it, using ingredients sourced from all over the UK. I subscribed to the beer making magazines, attended all the manufacturers fairs and exhibitions and enjoyed the fermented fruits of my labours.
Hops give flavour to the beer and my favourite were always Goldings Hops. A lady who ran a home brew market stall close to were I lived always got me the finest hops available. Hops in a plastic bag, measured out to the right amount to make 40 gallons of premium strength ale. When she retired I had a problem! I had to find a new, reliable supplier.
Mail Order Was The Answer
Browsing through my Brewing Monthly magazine I saw an advert for Goldings Hops with free delivery. Too good an offer to miss. Great price, free delivery, what a deal! Cheque book was filled in and signed then sent in the post. I was working the following day, but Wifey would be here to look after delivery.
In my excitement to place an order for a bargain, I had completely forgotten that a hop is similar to a feather in weight. Maybe a little bit heavier, but similar. 20 Cwt which I think is equivalent to 1 Ton equates to an awful lot of hops. A huge 40 foot juggernaut full. Imagine that turning up outside your house full to the rafters with plastic bags of hops!! I don’t think the major breweries have deliveries like that!
Because I was at work I was unaware of the problems my wife was facing at home on that day. It must have been around 5:00pm when I got there. I was greeted by a sea of big black plastic sacks and they were everywhere. All over the front garden, the back garden, the shed, the kitchen and even stretching into next doors garden. Needless to say, she wasn’t very pleased with me.
I ended up dumping nearly every bag. It was a lesson learned. All in all it took me nearly 6 weeks to get rid of the hops. The neighbours wondered what was going on, although none of them ever asked me. I gave home brewing up altogether after that. I’m pleased to say that the wife forgave me too.
If you’re interested in brewing your own beer, here’s a place I can recommend.