Friday Night, Saturday Morning

What idiot suggested an early start on Saturday, then? Ok, it was me-again. Note to self-must allow twelve hours between sessions. Well it seemed like a good idea at the time. Get in the New Oxford for opening time and (1) secure good seats for the footie and (2) gazump the scoopers. For there was a beer festival on and they would be out in force. I was going to say scoop the scoopers, but apparently that’s a board game popularised by Tandleman. Anyway, a diversion was made to Aldi for a litre of uber cheap orange juice and an equally cheap Ploughman’s. Who says I don’t know how to push the boat out?

Safely ensconced, it was time to get down to the serious business of drinking. All new beers to me and a couple of new breweries as well. George Wright’s Mild (4%) was dark and well balanced, but I found the Spring Ale (4%) a tad disappointing. It lacked the crisp hops I expect with light beers produced by this fine brewery. Digfield March Hare (4.7%) was also light and had a hint of fruit-not too bad considering its strength. Morton Merry Mount (3.8%) was ok, if undistinguished. Ditto for Hoggleys New Brewery Bitter (3.6%). Glentworth Sky Pilot (4.4%) was golden and had that dryness that marks out their beers. A good little brewery, even if their beers do all tend to taste the same. The match was now on, but as the Proclaimers sing “the day was bright and sunny, but the game I won’t relay.” Locally, Bazens Bridie’s Special (4.1%) went head to head with Greenfield’s 60 (4.2%) with Bazens being a clear winner. The Greenfield, despite being light, still had that malt imbalance that plagues a lot of their beers.

A surprise was Swaton Kiss Goodnight (4.5%) which the landlord admitted to having had to check in the cellar. The reason being, that the pumpclip gives the definite impression that that the beer will be dark. Instead it’s a nice light bitter. Not bad, but again nothing to write home about. It was still much better than Allgates St George the Great (4.1%) which, like most of their output, was disappointing. Thin and lacking any character, it had all the hallmarks of a beer rushed out to cash in on England’s patriot saint. Tigertops Bitter On (3.6%) was yet another bland beer. The same couldn’t be said for Brown Cow Indulgence (4.6%). The vanilla notes hit you straight away and there was no mistaking that this was a complex brew. Overall it was like drinking vanilla ice cream with some hops thrown in. Very interesting indeed. Strangely, apparently they also produced the worst beer of the festival-Simpson & Simpson Wyandotte Pale. This 4.2% was truly shocking. The stench of diacetyl was puke inducing and there was no way anyone could actually manage to drink it.

Having exhausted the Ox, we decided to call in at the Smithfield before getting the tram. More new beers, and again more disappointment. Both the Milestone St Georges Legend (4%) and the Swaton Three Degrees (4.7%) were homebrewish and lacked any zest. Back in Bury and the newly reopened Trackside provided an excellent selection. Skinners Cornish Blonde (5%) was a refreshing wheat beer, but with Marble’s Janine’s One (3.9%) the beer of the day was a no contest.

An interesting day out, but once again most of the new micros failed to dazzle. A lot of adequate beers, but for real quality there was no beating old favourites.


Tandleman said…
Micros failing to dazzle is a huge problem. I think I've mentioned it before in my blog, but it needs a further mention.
paul said…
It's always exciting to try these new beers, but how many of them really deliver? There are more and more new breweries and yet quality never seems to get better. Perhaps they should have to pass some sort of test first. A bit like a driving test!
colin said…
It's almost too easy now to set up brewing.Anyone can do it, they play around a bit and then close. I wonder why? Basically becasue the end product is not good enough.I can't remember the last time a new brewery blew me away.
Tyson said…
You have mentioned it before. We both know it's a bit of a problem.

I like the idea of a brewing test, but I'm not sure how that would actually work.

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