My own appearance at the festival was somewhat delayed by a visit to Outstanding Brewery. I had to check arrangements for tomorrows visit, and their early morning hospitality being what it is, I was unavoidably detained there. Clearly a breach of my human rights, but what can a beerhound do?
The festival proved to be somewhat of a combination of (mostly) good, the bad, and the ugly. The good were beers such as Phoenix Simco and the even better Spotland Gold, which I thought was the best beer I had. Bowland Real Lancashire Bitter was pale with a pleasing fruity aroma and decent hop bite. Sadly, their Octo-Beer proved quite bland on this occasion. As did Facers DHB, which was obviously green, as it lacked any trace of its usual hop bite. Dependable as ever, the Darkstar beers-Hophead and Expresso Stout, both proved winners. Both Boggart and Greemill also proved dependable-dependably disappointing. I tried Greenmill’s Cobra Crystal Wheat after Tandleman said he’d had a good one, but on this showing that must have been an abnormality, as I found it quite insipid. Or maybe that’s what passes as wheat beer in Rochdale?
Dunham Massey tickled the taste buds with their Chocolate Cherry Mild and I was impressed with the zest of Brewdog Punk IPA-great to see this on draught. Less impressive was Hopstar Karling where the Hersbrucker hops failed to offset the malt to any satisfying degree. The bad must be the temperature which, unusually for Bury, was very high. Bury has a well deserved rep as being the coldest festival-not too good for punters, but excellent for the beer. Unfortunately, the heating stayed on today, catching experienced festival goers out, as they had come safely wrapped up. Cue the shedding of layers of woolly clothing-sadly mainly by bearded, pot-bellied sandal wearers, and not the lasses of Bury. The ugly award, however, must go to Hopstar for their Singing Mouse. The tasting notes of “light well balanced session beer” did not prepare one for the taste onslaught of sickly caramel and highly unpleasant aftertaste that required a lot of washing away. On this evidence, Hopstar’s brewer shouldn’t give up their day job.
Time was eventually called, leading to the inevitable exodus in search of a suitable nightcap. A visit to Wetherspoons proved (inevitably) frustrating, and Eddie, the eager, legal beagle and I decided to chance a very late visit to the Trackside. Most patrons had left, but I spotted drinks being poured and made a dash for the bar. Assuming the air of a patron who had been there all night and who had just popped out for a smoke-thereby missing the last orders bell-I demanded every man’s God given right-a pint at last call. Thus we did enjoy a pint of Everards Sunchaser at the witching hour. It transpires that Eddie couldn’t recall this far into the evening, so those pictures of him running naked down the train lines will no doubt come in useful one day...