Best Served with Love and Tatties
By Roger Warner, Co-Founder, 21st February 2021...
When Steve and I first started planning our new brewery, I couldn't quite describe the magic ingredient that binds us.
We both share a passion for sport, especially football - which is how we met (we still play together, even though we're on the wrong side of a regular playing age). We have a similar mindset - tolerance, trust, openness, etc. We're both very fond of beer, obviously. And Kombucha. And we both enjoy being in the company of others.
When we first said 'let's go!' we made a commitment to creating drinks that are accessible, gluggable and good for you (in moderation)... and made for everyday fun. (We both cherish the little moments that make life so good - silly jokes, funny mishaps, a fist bump, a hug, a good tune, a kick of a ball.. that kind of thing.) These kind of moments are full of joy and made for sharing... and we really, really care about them.
We were toying with something else, but Steve came up with the name Only With Love. It took me a minute to think it through, but I fell for it pretty much straight away. Some of our friends thought we were nuts. How is that a name for a beer?! What would I say when ordering one at the bar?! We didn't mind so much ...because our drinks are not just about the drinks, not just about beer, and they are adamantly not just for blokes.
They're about something else.
This will seem odd, but Steve and I hadn't shared a regular pint of our own beer until after we'd shipped our first brews. The first time we sat at a table with a couple of friends, a 'substantial meal' and a glass of Dance Every Day pale ale was in between Covid lockdowns last year. I was on my third (it goes down well, chilled in a big glass) when we started trading stories.
We both already knew that we admire classic US beers: the Anchors, the Sierra Nevadas, Pliny the Elder, Racer 5, etc. We dig our pales - with a bit of juice and a kick. We adore traditional craft IPAs. And aroma-ful hops - not too heavy, just the right twangy notes. And buttery biscuit malts - the chewy flavours that linger on the tongue.
But that night, something else clicked into place.
Steve pointed at the bar and said 'tatties.' (He's from Middlesborough - where this means potatoes, and in the context of a bar, roast potatoes.) I said, 'what?' He said, 'this needs tatties - right there, on that bar... with a gravy boat.'
I said 'f*ck yeah.'
Those words took me way back. In an instant, I was transported to 1998 and a Sunday afternoon in April at a pub in Woolwich, overlooking the Thames. I can't remember what beer I was drinking, but I can remember the score. I'd turned out for my Sunday football team, and we'd won 2-0 away. Another clean sheet... the first of the summer sun was out, we were dog tired, still a bit muddy and smelly, and we were parched. A handful of us made a beeline to the local with a few lads from the opposition. It was heaving. And there were tatties on the bar. They were the best carbs I've ever eaten: crunchy golden skins, fluffy in the middle, and drowned in salt. Heaven.
If I close my eyes, I can still taste them now. I think I can remember the Spice Girls on the jukebox too. And I will forever remember the feeling that I can't quite describe - the afterglow of a good win, the buzz of the pub, the laughter and the smiles, and the cool, first-pint fizz in the tummy.
You don't see tatties on the bar so much nowadays - although the choice of beer is much better. (Reggae Reggae crisps are a good alternative for me.) Steve's tatties are the tatties of the social clubs up north. Both our tatties are the tatties of friendship, conviviality; call it what you will.
You'll have your memories and moments too, of course. Good company, good drinks - alcoholic or non-alcoholic, good food, good snacks, good venues... good times.
Oh wait, I can describe that feeling...
Arms-around-me, big old, joyful love.
(The memory of which can be inspired by tatties or any other number of little splendid random things.)
We're still in lockdown, unfortunately, but my next best 'Only With Love beer moment' will definitely be in the company of others, leaning across a bar or a table, laughing through a mouthful of something savoury.
The beer for that moment, and all other Only With Love beer moments, will always be fresh, mouth-watering, sessionable, playful on the palate, easy on the pocket, and a little moreish.
We hope you enjoy them, and we'd love it if our beer lends itself to your good times too.