St Georges Hall Festival

On a much larger and impressive scale was the Liverpool beer festival held in St Georges Hall. This is a fantastic Grade 1 listed Neoclassical building that is regarded as one of the finest examples of Greek Revival architecture in the world. Full marks to the organisers and Liverpool Council for making it happen. I can well believe the festival programme when it describes it as a “daunting challenge”. The first festival in any venue is always hard and this was particularly ambitious in nature.
With around 300 beers, ciders and perries on offer, it takes a large venue to host that in one room and still have room for the punters. Seating was arranged Germanic bench style, so it was a case of squeeze in and get chatting to your neighbour. One big advantage of this kind of venue is that they have the luxury of having a separate room for the musical turns. Being the St Georges Hall, they had a posh and acoustically sound Concert Room. Sadly for me, it wasn’t the day that the Liverpool Ukulele Orchestra were playing as the Fred Smith Big Band didn’t really do it for me.
The only downside of such a big setup is that the toilets weren’t very close to the drinking area. Still, it did give you a chance to see the sights. No, the only real niggle I had was the, seemingly now de rigueur, practice of forcing a half-pint glass onto you. With plenty of session strength beers available, it’s a nuisance for you and your neighbours to be coming and going every ten minutes. But other than that, it all went well.

Now with such a choice, there were inevitably a few frogs among the princes. There was a lot of good beer, but some dumpers along the way. The locals didn’t fare well, I’m afraid: Liverpool Organic Pale was a diacetyl bomb and Liverpool Craft West Coast Pale tasted like barley water. However, by far the worst was Melwood Citradelic which proved the point that Citra is not a brewing panacea. This was the most un-Citra beer I’ve ever had. Fermented pea soup would have been a more accurate description. Luckily for me it wasn't my choice as it was a virtually undrinkable beer that was only rendered drinkable by the addition of gin!

Beer of the festival: Mallinsons Danger Hops!


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