If you’re a beer drinker, the only thing better than a good bike ride, is a good bike ride that finishes with a great beer. And the only thing better than a great beer? Well… a great Stroud Brewery x Stolen Goat beer, of course!
Crisp, refreshing, and delectably smooth. We’ve teamed up with our friends over at Stroud Brewery to bring you ‘Kidding’, an organic pale ale. Made with Amarillo hops, Kidding is a naturally hazy pale that strikes the perfect balance of bitterness and a zesty citrus aroma. Of course, us Goats here at SG HQ have taken one for the team and performed the extremely difficult job of checking that the beer is top notch. And we can confirm, just like everything else Stroud brew, it’s downright delicious.
And what’s more, we’ve also worked with Stroud Brewery on a super cool custom collaboration cycling jersey. So you can ride out in style and live the matchy-matchy dream by pairing your cycling kit with your beer!
Head over to the Stroud Brewery website to get your hands on the new beer and jersey. Read on to hear more from our Operations Director, Andy, as he shares a little insight into how the collaboration came about and SG’s bike ride adventure out to the brewery…
Some things are worth waiting for…
We live in a time where it has never been easier to get pretty much anything, really quickly, with just a few clicks on a web browser. As much as I appreciate the convenience, recently I have tried to remind myself that some things truly are worth waiting for.
You could be forgiven for thinking that I’m referring to our newly launched AW21 range. It certainly fits the bill: delayed in ways we couldn’t have foreseen… full of exciting new designs. But that’s not my focus today. Let me instead take you back to those heady days of pre-Covid-19 freedom. When turning up to a public event didn’t automatically require a raft of negative tests, face coverings and constant social anxiety.
How it started
Back in 2019, my family and I were after a weekend away at a music festival as part of our summer break. While these were pre-Covid times – my wife and I still weren’t hugely keen on big crowds with four small children in tow! A quick search unearthed River Cottage Festival – a small, family-friendly festival. It not only promised entertainment and activities for all of us, but it also had the sort of mess-around-in-the-dirt, back-to-nature feel that promised to sit well with our outdoor-loving brood.
Wrangling four excited and totally feral children from one activity to the next was a fun but exhausting experience. By the time bedtime came around each night and they were safely tucked into sleeping bags in our tent, we were well and truly ready to relax. Leaving my wife in the tent on the first night with the promise of a warm drink, I wandered over to the bar area. I noticed a couple of cheery ladies from Stroud Brewery were offering tasting samples of organic beer, and all thoughts of hot chocolate for myself were quickly forgotten.
For the rest of the festival, the Stroud Brewery bar was the go-to when it was time to grab a drink. As I savoured one delicious beer after another, each one was expertly explained to me by Liz and Harriet from the Brewery. We chatted about what Stroud stood for and how the whole ethos of the business was centred on sustainable produce and being in balance with nature. Impressed with their obvious enthusiasm, passion – and of course the fantastic beer – I was totally on board by the time it came to pack up and start the long journey home.
A few short months later, and it was time for the Cycle Show. An annual pilgrimage for us here at Stolen Goat HQ pre-Covid. I was delighted to find that Stroud were the beer sponsor for the show. While we were there, we discovered that Stroud were now B-Corp certified – an incredible way to show commitment to their core beliefs in organic and sustainable business. Another lovely chat later (plus some further sampling, of course) and we left resolved to find a way that we could work together.
An unexpected pothole in the road
Sadly, the next thing we knew we were in the middle of a global health emergency and numerous lockdowns. Stroud were forced to shut their doors to visitors, but managed to keep going with a very successful round of crowdfunding and adapting to a local web delivery service. At Stolen Goat, we found ourselves busier than ever. People rediscovered a love of finding freedom outdoors and cycling saw a huge resurgence. It was fantastic to see so many people getting out on their bikes, but trying to keep up while taking care of our families at home didn’t leave much time for new projects.
As the summer of 2021 rolled around and things gradually started to open up again, our designer, Trevor, reminded me that he had a Stroud Brewery design in the works from before the pandemic. He asked whether I would mind reigniting the project, as he’d also quite like some beer!
He was right, of course. We had waited long enough. After a quick call to Stroud Brewery’s founder, Greg, a plan was born. We would cycle over to meet in person, work out the details of a collaboration and get this project back on the rails.
Beers and bikepacking
And so, early one fine June morning, Mark and I strapped bags to our bikes, threw in some spare clothes and set off to pedal the 75 odd miles over to Gloucestershire. With the scent of adventure in the air and the promise of a good beer upon arrival in our minds.
Bike-packing is definitely one of my favourite things to do on a bike and I’m fairly used to touring. But, for Mark, it was a fairly new experience and his excitement was infectious. Aside from a brief section dodging traffic and roadworks in Thatcham, most of our route took us down winding country roads and beautiful countryside. It was glorious and we even had time to stop midway at a lovely hotel for a coffee before setting off on the final run into Stroud. Here, our desire to avoid the main roads proved to be our slight undoing. We could easily have stayed on the main road to the Brewery but it transpired our route, which we believed we had planned perfectly in advance, actually finished with a final 12% climb. Followed by immediately descending to the main road again. I have no idea how we got that so wrong!
When we finally arrived at Stroud Brewery, we met up with our colleagues Jim and Dug who had made their way up from Poole. We were treated to the warmest of welcomes from Greg Pilley himself. Greg had founded the Brewery 15 years ago and is the driving force behind their mission to make great beer, without damaging the planet. Greg gave us the full brewery tour, explaining the processes and allowing us to sample some brand-new production. It was clear that the Stroud crew are a close-knit bunch, cheerily but busily working around us as we tried not to get in the way! We learned, amongst other things, that the Brewery is really a big part of the local community. They work with artists (such as the wonderfully talented Imogen Harvey-Lewis) and colleges to use the space and bring the building to life. Seeing them in action really cemented with us the belief that our ideals and theirs were a perfect match. Our enthusiasm for the project was well and truly back on track.
The rest of the evening went by in a blur of great food and drink at the Stroud Tap Room, in wonderful company. If you ever get the opportunity to visit, then you definitely should. The beer, pizza and atmosphere were all as excellent as we had anticipated. As we said our farewells the following morning, we vowed to repeat the visit soon. Mark and I jumped back on our bikes for the long ride home, enjoying the summer sun, the stunning rural scenery and looking forward to the fun ahead.
No more Kidding around…
Now, after all the hard work and the delays, we are finally able to usher our new collaboration with Stroud Brewery into the light of day. A fabulous new cycling jersey and the Kidding Pale Ale in a specially designed beer can, featuring art from our friend Mal at Pye Candy. It’s been a long time coming, but I hope you’ll agree that it was well worth the wait!
Head on over to Stroud Brewery’s website to pre-order your jersey in time for Christmas. Beer, of course, is available now.
Check out the Stolen Goat x Stroud Brewery Collaboration