A Dog's Life

I was reminded of the expression “one final push for victory” this weekend as the Hare & Hounds beer festival drew to a close. For it had been a hard fought campaign, a tireless war of attrition on the senses. Not to mention the liver. It was always going to be difficult to keep up with all the new beers, but it had to be tried. Eddie, the eager, legal beagle said it’s the law.

Saturday saw a motley crew attending and a wide range of beers sampled. Pineapple Pete (AKA The Stomach), kicked off dangerously with Thornbridge’s 7.7% Saint Petersburg stout. This is very rich, full of chocolate and coffee and a pronounced finish. Brewdog Punk IPA was once more up to Boldscratch and proved very moreish. Anglo Dutch Oliver Crunch was a very reasonable 3.6% but proved light and refreshing. Cathedral Golden Imp was disappointing and Woodlands Woodcutter actually tasted woody. The best of Saturday’s lot was Pictish Glacier-a beautiful balance of citrus, pine and tropical fruit.

Sunday was of course Mothering Sunday. And how else to celebrate this important day other than to spend it at a beer festival. Next year I might even bring the old gal. There was a slight problem-most of the beer had gone. Undeterred we ploughed on. Spitting Feathers Thirst Quencher once more failed to live up to its name, instead having unpleasant burnt malt finish. As the remaining beers tumbled, it was hard to get away from Jaipur IPA. This was in stunning form and went down way too fast. The reduction to £1 a pint for the remaining festival beers sadly came too late to be of much use, as ale saturation kicked in.

As in all good campaigns, sadly there are casualties. However, some survivors did manage to make it up the road to the Major. Here we sampled some excellent, if technically unnecessary, Hawkshead Gold. Certainly staggering across the road to the First Chop was sheer showboating and definitely unwise, as my head this morning could testify.

Scores on the doors: 138 beers tried during the H&H festival. None of the new breweries, with the exception of Keswick, proved particularly noteworthy. The beers ranged from the excellent-Pictish, Brewdog, Mallinsons, to the poor-Breconshire, Woodlands and of course, the strange-Boggart. Dates have already been set for the next one, so looks like I’ll be doing it all again in six months.



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