Wow, wow, wow - The Hidden Seller

A place that receives three wows has to be great, right? Well you wouldn’t be wrong. Let me tell you about my visit to The Beer Seller, or rather its upstairs neighbour, The Hidden Seller.

First wow

The Beer Seller very kindly invited me to an evening there but I have to be honest that I didn’t really digest how the evening would unfold. I knew it would be a launch event but I thought it’d be a "“stand around mingling” kind of evening. As with any event that takes place in the evening these days, I was late and walked into this ….

Five English (local) wines accompanied by five English cheeses

Five English (local) wines accompanied by five English cheeses

I was very pleasantly surprised (I did exclaim “Wow!”) and gleefully took my place at the beautiful resin, handmade island with gorgeous turquoise inlay (I know I don’t normally rave about tables, islands or serving stations but this one is really something!) and started to listen to sommelier Amy tell me about what I was drinking and eating - full list under Third Wow (!).

This room is a tasting room but also a shop of British artisanal drinks - not a shop where you take things off the shelf though and put them in a basket. You peruse all the lovely bottles upstairs and then place your order and pay downstairs in The Beer Seller - saves you lugging them all down the stairs so works perfectly!

Second Wow

Have you been to The Beer Seller yet? If not, the décor is rather rustic - I know that word can sometimes be used for ‘poor’ or shabby, unfinished décor but in this case it is literal - it comprises of a great deal of wood that has been lovingly hand crafted, stone floor, a countryside mural, seating made from crates and sacking…

And then you go upstairs to The Hidden Seller and it’s completely different. It feels more feminine in comparison with its clean lines, duck egg blue walls and flower arrangements - but don’t let that put off you menfolk.

Amy the sommelier in the sleek The Hidden Seller

Amy the sommelier in the sleek The Hidden Seller

The drinks for sale are on beautiful shelves or held on racks and there is a tablet which lets you learn about the tasting notes for each drink.

Third wow

The wine and cheese - two of my favourite things - I was in heaven! Tonbridge-born Amy who is qualified in the world of alcohol and has spent time in Washington, USA studying, knows her stuff. This is what she served us:

Bolney Lychgate white 2017 vintage - this wine is from a Surrey vineyard and was really unusual, in my opinion, but very nice too. This was served with Kentish Blue.

Chapel Down Chardonnay - I’m not a Chardonnay fan but was pleasantly surprised; served with Ashmore from Cheesemakers of Canterbury

Hush Heath Rose - very quaffable! A goat’s cheese accompanied this wine and it was delicious. I don’t like all goats’ cheeses and nor did quite a few of us round the table but Golden Cross from Golden Cross Cheese Ltd was delicious and we all agreed!

Chapel Down NV Brut - some fizz! Many of you will know this sparkling wine but have you ever served it with a Sussex Brie? Great combo.

And finally Chapel Down Union Red - a great rounded red, not too heavy and served with Mayfield cheese from Alsop and Walker.

We were encouraged by Amy to enjoy our wine and cheese and there wasn’t a spittoon in sight! We supped five lovely glasses of wine and learnt about their provenance, tried some new cheeses, and we were entitled to 10% off any purchases from the shop!

This evening was a gift to me but I will certainly be returning - it’s great value at £35 per head and I discovered a lot more about vineyards local to us here in Tonbridge and Kent as a whole. Amy was great - friendly and knowledgeable, and as an added extra, she took me to see The Beer Seller’s new function room.

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If downstairs is rustic and The Hidden Seller is sleek and feminine then the function room is rather like a library in a big country mansion! Yes they have the wallpaper which looks like book shelves but it’s also quite dark. It’s a good size and already has some regular groups meeting. To find out more about the prices to hire the room, contact The Beer Seller.

It was a really good evening and I loved it! I think it’s great that The Beer Seller is expanding its offering and it’s fantastic that it’s in Tonbridge! What a boon for the town!

The next wine tasting night is 9th May and the room can seat up to ten so gather your friends or work colleagues and try it out! Maybe see you there one night!