Tom Richards has the perfect girlfriend.
She’s encouraged him to turn their Nether Edge dining room into his very own micro-brewery, happily welcomes his friends round to ‘sample’ large quantities of his latest ales – and doesn’t touch a drop of it herself.
“Tom was really into home-brewing before I met him,” says Luisa Golob. “He has always made ale from scratch – none of those little kits for him. And when he moved into my place he brought all his beer-making equipment with him.”
He set up in her lounge so there was nowhere to sit.
But instead of telling her King Ecgbert’s School art teacher boyfriend to ditch his hobby, understanding Luisa suggested they move to a bigger house.
“We got a place in Nether Edge with a dining room, knowing we would never need a dining table,” she laughs.
The room is now Tom’s On The Edge Brewery and after a further 18 months of experimentation with yeast, hops and malt, and a fair few explosions from dodgy brews in the cellar, he’s achieved perfection and is ready to start selling it by the cask and 35-pint pin.
His first beer festival is being staged on Saturday at the old Sharrow Junior School on South View Road. There will be eight brews to sample, including an American-style dry hopped, a German-style wheat, a smoked Marzen style and an oak-conditioned Imperial stout.
“It has been said many times that I must be the real ale man’s perfect girlfriend,” says Luisa, who does the micro-brewery’s sales and marketing around her day job as manager of local arts organisation Art In The Park.
“I don’t even like beer so I’m never involved in the tasting. His friends are more than keen to help with that.”
The festival runs from noon to 11pm. Admission is free and beer is from £1.50 to £2 a half.
Community cafe Blend will be cooking ‘posh’ burgers and folk bands will be playing.