Hare & Hounds Festival Highlights

The dust has settled and the tables cleared. Yes, the latest Hare & Hounds beer festival has come to an end. After 10 days and some 170 beers (plus assorted ciders and perrys) all served the correct way: i.e. through sparklered handpump, it’s time to tally up.

There was the usual cluster of favourites and go-to beers. Castle Rock Harvest Pale, Allgates Motueka and all of the Pictish offerings were eagerly consumed. Not to mention Brewdog Trashy Blonde. But there were plenty of new delights to be had as well.

Ashover’s Hydro owed more than a nod to Marble Pint, but nothing wrong with that. Coastal from Redruth in Cornwall also surprised many with its light (3.7%) but citrus packed Hop Monster. Also very moreish was the Cambridge brewpub (White Hart) Ufford’s Green Bullet. Meanwhile Blue Monkey consolidated their reputation with the well balanced, but bitter finishing, Guerrilla Stout.

Of course not every brewery shone. Burton Bridge Knot Brown Ale at 4.7% was heavy and cloying. Toad went for comedic value with Da Vinci Toad & Frog Spawn Massacre but the TCP flavoured Blonde on Blonde was far from funny. And Wincle’s, allegedly, Light Mild-Bad Bill was far too woody to be enjoyable..

Brewery of the festival: Brew Company. This Sheffield outfit scored top marks for Brewer’s Gold, St Petrus Stout, Summit IPA, Pacific Jade and the well-named Hop Monster. Honorary mention for Liverpool Organic whose Liverpool Pale, Simcoe and the very drinkable 6.5% Shipwreck IPA all hit the mark.

What of the dreaded Brewdog Paradox? This 10% chewy beast was much discussed but treated cautiously by most. Apart from the famous individual who tried to neck it in one and duly fell off his crutches...

Good to see the “Dogs” doing so well. Apart from yet another successful festival, it’s once more made it to the final of the Publican’s Cask Ale Pub of the Year. It was also featured in the Daily Telegraph last Saturday.

Oh and fans of Mallinsons (and who isn’t?) can now hopefully look forward to seeing more of their beers on the bar. And I’ll drink to that.


Barry said…
Couldn't make it again this time but have heard good things about it. Never had any problems with Toad but as you've pointed out in the past, a lot of these smaller brewers are quite variable.

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