It all started in Yorkshire, England, at the time home to beer-brewer Dann Paquette and his wife Martha. Dann was brewing at a small family-owned "real ale" brewery in Harrogate and Martha was a scientist in York. On the weekends they'd explore the nearby Moors and Dales and the small towns and pubs that are dotted about them.
One of these small towns, Ripon is home to a fantastic cathedral, which stands guard over an ancient Saxon crypt, hidden down a narrow staircase. But the jewels of the cathedral are the 15th century misericord carvings in the choir. Pigs play the bagpipes, swimmers are snatched from the sea by monsters, apes fight lions, a fox preaches to a chicken from his pulpit, wild men prowl the forest, a mermaid preens, griffons strut and Pliny's mysterious "Blemya" inhabit this magical world.
The volunteers who work at the cathedral are quick to point out that Lewis Carroll's father was a residential Canon here in the 1850's, and Lewis didn't hide the fact that pages of "Through the Looking Glass" were written here. One carving shows a Griffon chasing a rabbit down a hole. So Dann & Martha weren't the first to be inspired to creativity by these carvings. Here’s the Cathedral website: check it out when you’re in Yorkshire www.riponcathedral.org.uk
Before long Dann was summoning a "John Barleycorn" character called "Jack D'Or" (Jack of Gold). A wise old grain in the form of a blemya, Jack has roots: in Yorkshire, in Ripon, in Belgium where monks from Yorkshire took the brewing craft…
But Jack stands on this side of the Atlantic Ocean, where he has been brought and given many new leases on life. With a great, gleaming moustache, knee-deep in a wooden mash tun, he conjures himself into beer. Helped along by the other "Pretty Things" like the mischievous hops and the transformative miniscules we know as yeast - a magnificent fester would no doubt ensue! One of the most joyful transformations in nature, better than any rabbit from a hat, beer is the result.
That is the inspiration of Pretty Things!
On the beer side "Pretty Things" is an obvious extension of the sort of things Dann's been brewing or talking about brewing for years. But these beers are for fun, not for display! Our beers are not precious jewels, they are happy peasants! Their motto is "Good Time Artisanal Beers": hold them to it!