REVIEW: Hopyard at Propyard

Hopyard returned to the Propyard for another weekend of great beer, food and  music

Words & Images: Delroy Hibbert, @crossingthedanny

Part 1 – Friday night – Bristol HiFi

Well this is the great beer challenge for me as I head into the Propyard on a night when, quite frankly, due to the weather I am actually tempted to stay at home and watch Eastenders on catch up.

Friday night sees a packed session

I’m pleasantly surprised on walking into the great cavern that is the venue, that there are quite a few other foolhardy souls in the city and the place is busy and buzzing.The sides and back of the venue have an array of different independent breweries demonstrating their wares and I am more than happy to partake of their hospitality.

Empty but soon full glass (or plastic rather) in hand, I make my way the short distance to the nearest tap. At this point I should add that I am gluten free and in search of ale that doesn’t tie my guts in knots and make me bloated.

I’m soon satisfied with a cold one from Electric Bear brewery by the name of Mixtape.  This is a Helles lager and damn I needed this one on a cold, Friday night. It’s got more flavour than Jamaican cooking and one of those beers that you like to just roll around the tongue for a while before you swallow. It sets the bar high for the rest of the night.

 But it’s not just beer I’m here for, and I walk towards the stage Queen Bee gives me a wave which is reassuring as she’s obviously forgiven my faux pas of spelling her name incorrectly on this very site a few weeks ago. I mean jeez just how dumb do you have to be to spell the word bee incorrectly?

Reggae paints the air as she keeps the vibe going from behind the decks.

Daddy G, Bristol HiFi

Daddy G soon joins her and takes to the decks without fanfare or announcement and barely looks at the crowd as he drops his first track.  I’ve lost count of the times I’ve seen G play since I was a teenager but tonight he seems different and his set is too. I was expecting a dub and reggae soundtrack but he mixes hip-hop, afrobeats, something Balearic into a real mish mash of grooves, which brings people to the dance floor. 

I haven’t forgotten my other mission though, and I continue to sample the beers for research purposes. Shouts go out to Arbor for their Helles Lager. It’s a new one for me, having hit the market about five months ago, I’m told by their rep. It makes a welcome addition to the Arbor family whose Mosaic offering is a particular favourite of mine.

Jubel offers a peach flavoured lager and one of the two lovely reps attending is a coeliac and assures me it is GF.  I’ll be honest, I’m old school and sceptical about fruit flavoured beers and ciders but this one works. It’s a great summer beer although it must be drunk ice cold, and my initial misgivings about the fruit flavour are thankfully dispelled.  I still remain convinced however that fruit based drinks are still the preserve of Londoners and other degenerates.

It’s at this point I realise I’m due to be here again in 24 hours for part 2 and have a football match in between although thankfully just as a spectator. I make a side exit.

Brad Baloo from The Nextmen takes over

Part 2 – Saturday night – The Nextmen

Back once again with the ill behaviour and fresh from watching the mighty Bristol Rovers secure a last minute draw against Derby County at the Mem. I am here and looking forward to catching The Nextmen for the first time and to continue my taste test on behalf of our readership.

This time around I make a beeline towards some brews left untasted from the night before. Left Handed Giant supplies with me another new one for me, a Simcoe & Centennial Pale Ale. Unfortunately I later find that this one has been discontinued by the brewery which is disappointing as it won the taste test for me. I will however be heading to their taproom to try out its replacement.

Next up was Quencher, a new brew launched this month by By The Horns who have travelled up from Surrey for this event. Very much a clean tasting but flavoursome beer which has been sniffing the hops and trying to guess the riot of flavours produced by this one. It’s a collaboration between the BTH crew and microbrewery Jiddler’s Tipple and definitely worth seeking out.

But I’m not just here for the beer and head out to the courtyard in search of music. The Nextmen started out in the mid 90’s as producers remixing songs for other acts before releasing their first album Among The Madness in 2000. 

Tonight they get the first hardy souls up and dancing and before not too long it seems that everyone is joining in. Playing a mixture of their own cuts & remixes and some classics they seem to put a smile on all our faces (or maybe that’s just the beer!)

It’s been a great weekend and I have to congratulate the venue & organisers for another great event which has seen a near capacity crowd turn out with some even telling me they have travelled down from London & Essex for this which itself is a great compliment.

Before I forget though, here are my top 3 of the gluten free beers available.

  1. Simcoe & Centennial – Left Handed Giant
  2. Mixtape – Electric Bear
  3. Quencher – By The Horns

Propyard will be hosting a huge range of events this summer, more information on what’s coming up  can be found on their website and Instagram page

The Nextmen released their latest EP Blow Wind Blow on April 7th