A touch of cool has come to Sandown with the Island’s first-ever solely craft beer taproom on the Isle of Wight. Boojum&Snark is sending out the Hackney vibe with an interior that is laidback, quirky and chic with an original art installation. On each table there is a glass bell and when you want a drink you ring for service! The venue is also noted for the eclectic range of music from IW Indie to Trojan through to disco.
Boojum&Snark is part of a coastal regeneration project founded by Julie Jones-Evans and Tracy Mikich. “We never thought that we couldn’t do it and it’s about changing public perception of how two women brewing beer might be seen in a male-dominated environment and we’re bucking the trend. Women are the alchemists, the herbalists, the tincture makers, the healers and perhaps it’s a healing for Sandown in some way. We weren’t afraid of giving it a go, learning the science behind it. And why shouldn’t the Island have a place like this? When we started, people were saying you need to make this a traditional pub but we were adamant that it wasn’t going to be like that and it was a case of reimagining what the place could be like and making it a real destination’ says Julie.
There’s a great selection of craft beer as well as beer that is made right behind the bar. Julie has been mentored by a professional brewer and they now produce three of their own beers. To date they have produced five different beers including the South Island Pale Ale, SIPA, developed by Julie. SIPA features Nelson Sauvin, Rakau and Vic Secret hops and has received a solid four out of five Untapped ratings. Others include the Vanishing a rich dark stout that is named after the final chapter in Lewis Carroll’s The Hunting of the Snark, Red Cliff a red ale, The Baker’s Berry a raspberry wheat beer made with sourdough bread from the Island Bakers. “ When we’ve got our core range nailed then we can start to look at contract brewing and so we could ask another brewer to brew for us to our recipe. There’s so much potential here from seawater to samphire and natural botanicals and we’re working with Ian Boyd from The Common Space who has an amazing knowledge of what’s available,” says Julie. There are also six taps behind the bar and you order a tasting paddle and sample different flavours from dank hoppy IPAs to fruity Saisons through to lemon-face sour beers.
Boojum&Snark is more than just a pub though, the plan is to contribute toward a creative coastal revival. Julie says “We intend to broaden and build on the rich cultural heritage of the Bay Area by being vibrant, unusual and singular.” An incredible art installation, Simply Galumphing Around, by Teresa Grimaldi and Sarah Vardy has pride of place. It is inspired both by Lewis Carroll’s epic nonsense poem, The Hunting of the Snark, which he began writing in Sandown, and also Sandown’s history as a holiday destination filled with fun and hilarity. Weaving and layering old photographs, objects, illustrations, Teresa and Sarah have crafted a nonsense narrative featuring childhood memories, laughing competitions, galumphing, larking and wild abandon to illustrate our search and desire for happiness.
Whatever it is: museum, cultural centre, pub, bar, taproom, gallery and retail space, Boojum&Snark is something that the Island hasn’t seen before and makes good beer, locally and innovatively.