We all know what first comes to mind when you think of Rick Astley. It doesn’t need to be said, we’re all done with that joke.
But would the next thing you’d add on to the northern charmer’s list of accomplishments be a line of Danish beer? I didn’t think so either.
It was a display of everything I ever pictured Astley and his personal brand to be. I walked in to the Draft House in London’s leafy (compared to the rest of it) Hammersmith and to my right a PR party was about to kick off.
Hopping (pun very much intended) behind the curtain, I had gone from pub to paradise with low lighting and a glass cabinet hung on the wall which was full to the brim of Astley’s Northern Hop (although, it was quite unnerving to see quite so many cartoon Rick’s fixing a quiff in unison).
I’d never been to Hammersmith before, being a northerner myself. Yet only several feet from the tube station I found myself with one of the nation’s icons kickin’ it, sippin’ it and lovin’ it. My newest bff, Rick, leant over to his PR and said: ‘I know you need the photos but you’re gonna have to stop giving me these beers soon!’ HA! What a guy. Oh, Rick.
We sat out back on a heated terrace that was almost constructed purely for this moment - it was picturesque.
Me and Rick, Rick and Me. Two northerners living it large in the big smoke. He had a very warm charm about him and although he admitted that he hasn’t actually lived up north for over 30 years it seemed like he was as rooted as the greenery that lined the walls around us.
I digress, I was there for one reason. A real man’s reason. Pass me a beer, Rick.
At first taste, it’s a little bit fizzy. Reminds me of a German weiss bier, full bodied with an aromatic aftertaste. It’s pretty easy going and isn’t too challenging, though I can imagine it to get pretty bloaty.
‘I wanted a beer where when I get home at night, I could just crack one open and I’d know what to expect. What better way to do that then to brew my own?’ Rick told me. ‘My wife’s Danish so brewing with Mikkeller was almost a no-brainer.
‘When we visited the brewery, there was some wild stuff going on, so I was confident we could get what I was aiming for out of it.’
Well, Astley’s Northern Hop will be hitting the shelves soon and unfortunately I wasn’t able to stay with him too long (he’s a busy man you know), he’s playing the Royal Albert bloody Hall tonight, which is pretty impressive in anyone’s book.
D’you think, in between sculling a few Astley’s, he might, just might play this one?
We know it’s one of your more obscure tunes Rick, but do it for the fans.