Here We Go

At the start of a very busy weekend, Thursday saw the start of the latest beer festival at the Hare & Hounds in Holcombe Brook. This is the biggest pub festival in the world and with 276 beers to come through the pumps, one of the UK’s biggest cask operations.

Some 38 beers were on offer and the first job was to try some new ones. Battledown Natural Selection was golden and slightly spicy. Beartown Peach Melba was like a cask version of Timermans Peche and proved so tasty that I had to return to it later on. Whilst both Acorns-Northdown Blonde and Summer Pale were old friends who delivered what was expected of them.

Another new one with Shugborough Mi Lady’d Fancy which was golden and easy going for 4.6%, if a tad sweet. Blythe Ridware Pale was similar in palate but without the sweet finish. Next up were two I was keen to try properly. Whitehaven Ennerdale Blonde and Ennerdale Bitter. Whilst the Blonde won universal praise for being a well balanced and moreish, I also was impressed by the 3.6% Bitter which was fruity and refreshing.

Unsurprisingly, Derwent Late Summer was the worst beer of the night, tasting something like smoked wet moss. Downton Quadhop, on the other hand, lived up to its name and delivered a delightful hop kick for 3.9%. And Hammerpot Martlet at only 3.5% continued the recent trend of lower vol beers being surprisingly tasty. Ilkley Olicana Gold seemed more amber than golden but had a powerful floral aroma and plenty of bitter hopping-another winner from them.With the last bus looming, it was time to press on with Nobby’s Best and the whisky infused Redscar Sands.

With the last bus come and gone, it was time to press on with Vale Haddas Autumn Ale, which despite being copper coloured was probably too citrusy to be a true autumnal ale. Silverstone Chequered Flag was a blend of malt and chocolate, while Roosters Prost was light but rather bland. Then there was just time to relax with a pint of Peach Melba (and a half of Castle Rock Screech Owl) before home and hearth beckoned.


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