The last Wednesday of July, as NB Gallery, we headed to Cockermouth, a town in Cumbria, England, for the official global launch of the New Balance Real Ale Pack, and boy was it good. The hospitality over the few days that we were there was absolutely faultless, big big shout to all those involved for nailing the event. The plan was to arrive in Cockermouth and check into the Allerdale Court Hotel, easily one of the nicest hotels I've stayed in - rooms, bar, breakfast, and staff all excellent, and in the perfect spot in this lovely Lake District town. Fashionably late, we arrived, checked in, and were greeted by a NB Welcome Pack filled with goodies, such as a pair of the Real Ale CT300's, beer mats, ale, NB USB, and our intinerary for the next few days.
We then made our way up the road to the Trout Hotel, where there was a buffet and drinks laid on in the Derwent Restaurant, and we caught up with old faces, and met plenty of new ones, and talked footwear, and drank beer into the early hours of the morning.
Sucking it up the next morning, with a bottle of water in hand, we passed on the morning run as sport and hangovers don't mix, and instead chilled with some breakfast before being picked up outside our hotel by an amazing vintage styled bus which would take us to the New Balance Flimby Factory. Upon arriving at the Flimby Factory, we were taken to the conference room were the Real Ale Pack was on display, along with some of the team's favourite past NB releases. We watched the Real Ale Pack promotion video, and then were taken on a guided tour of the factory, which will never ever not be amazing.
Upon completion of the factory tour, we were treated to a question and answer session with some of the NB team, again, just one of the amazing things on the intinerary. It's always great to get the opportunity to ask these guys questions, and gain an insight into what they get up to working for NB.
To conclude the morning, a quick jaunt in the factory shop, before hopping back on the bus and heading to the Bitter End Pub in Cockermouth for some lunch!
Treated to fish and chips at the quaint little Bitter End Pub up a tight side street in Cockermouth, we then took the opportunity to grab ourselves one of the allotted times to have some personal one-to-one interview time with the NB team at the Allerdale Court Hotel. Myself and Arek of Suede&Mesh came together for our interview slot, and you can find the full write up of the interview here.
As myself, Rob, and Arek managed to secure the 1500, 576, and CT300, we decided to go explore Cockermouth a little to find some nice spots to take some shots of the pack, and you can see these shots below.
So you're wondering where the Real Ale part of the pack comes in, right? Well, Thursday evening was set aside to head over to Jennings Brewery where we were given a guided tour of the brewery and learned how traditional British ale is brewed. A big shout out has to go to our guide Sharon, who was both extremely knowledgeable and welcoming throughout, awesome job.
What is there to do after a guided tour of a brewery? Well, eat some food and try out the ale that is brewed there, served straight out of the Ale Bar at Jennings.
I must admit, when I first seen the itinerary for the event, one of the things I was looking forward to the most was the NB Pub Quiz. Honestly, I'm not competitive, I swear... After being cheated out (not really) of a 'who can lace the shoe the fastest' competition (mine were perfect, no joke), it was time for our 'NB Gallery' round. In all honesty, our questions were both a little ridiculous and a little hard, but it made for good entertainment anyway. The scores were totalled up, and our team, the 'Chosen Few' were overall winners, with only something like three points separating the teams. We were presented with this lovely engraved tankard, a really neat prize for sure. Big shout to the quiz master Joe who done a solid job!
More beer and laughs followed, and then sadly it was time to depart Jennings Brewery, but we headed back to the Trout Hotel to continue where we left off.
It has to be said, New Balance really know how to put on an event. Some of the best people, plenty of food and drink, too many laughs, and just excellent hospitality all round. Big props to all those involved!