Is it really a year ago that the inaugural Liverpool Craft Beer Expo took place? Apparently so, for quicker than you can say supercalifragilisticexpialidocious, it was time for the second instalment. The first had been very enjoyable; with a few minor reservations on my part. You can read my review of last year’s event here. So what about LCBE 2014? Well we were promised bigger and better. More beer. More food. Everything BIGGER and BETTER, basically. Well these things do tend to evolve and so unsurprisingly Saturday’s tickets sold out even quicker than last year. Sadly there was no glamorous blonde accompaniment this year, but Steady Eddie, that quasi-Liverpudlian legal eagle, was on hand to offer moral support.
The first thing to note was that they had moved it. It’s still in the Camp & Furness but in a different area. This was quite disorienting at first for those of us who attended last year but a look at last year’s setting soon got the bearings back on track. Although I kind of missed the glass roof, it did help in keeping the area cooler. And it did mean more room for more beer-200 beers this year-more seating and a bigger food selection. There was even a little outdoor area. Payment was by token and imbibing was done via a dinky half pint measure. The beer was split between one cask bar (all on handpump) and several keg bars: including a foreign beer bar.
Now everyone had their own way of tackling the beery offerings. Mr Stockport, being the professional he is, alternated between cask and keg. Some of us took a more linear approach and went across one bar before moving onto the next. Either way there was some very good beer to try. The organisers had listened to feedback and produced a programme that listed the beers (hooray) and there seemed to be a better mix of strengths this year. Even the music was complimentary this time, instead of invasive so full marks all round.
Brewfist Terminal Pale Ale: it’s all about the Citra
All In Brewing Sofa King Lager: Carling it isn’t
Arbor Yakima Valley: an IPA to aspire to
Bristol Beer Factory Nova: zesty and them some
Liverpool Craft Citra Double IPA: pure diacetyl in a glass
Late Knights Old Red Eyes: agriculturally earthy
It has to be said that this year, in the keg v cask war, keg was the easy winner. Apparently the food was good as well, although as Eddie doesn’t believe in mixing solid food and alcohol, we didn’t try it. So a great afternoon that was topped off by bumping into the lovely John and, dare I say it, even lovelier Claire once again. Same time, same place next year, kids? Oh and it was great to meet Dimpled Mug whose photography is amazing.
Of course LBCE was only the start of a drunken descent. Rambling through the streets of Liverpool we bumped into the lads of Shindigger before settling into the Grapes. Then it was a very short journey (thank you, Transpenine) back into Manchester. Now Eddie and I would have gone home but Mr Stockport insisted on going to Common. And then to Port Street Beer House for a nightcap. Or three. He can be very persuasive.
The unassuming bottle above was THE nightcap. Mikkeller Big Worst Barrel Aged Barley Wine Cognac Edition tipped the scales at 18.7% and was the grand finale to a grand day.