A Tale Of Two Festivals

So first up was Ramsbottom beer festival. Held over three days, not unsurprisingly, in Ramsbottom Civic Hall, this was a charity fundraiser for Mountain Rescue. As in previous events, it was an all token affair and all 42 beers were served by handpump. This is a really good festival that was freshened up this time by the decision to include only breweries that hadn’t featured previously. Unfortunately this meant having to exclude Ramsbottom Craft but luckily meant that new kids on the block; Brewsmith, could feature. They have really got off to a flying start and their beers are already picking up a following. Their full range was available: Bitter, Pale, Oatmeal Stout and IPA. All were excellent with their IPA blowing many away with its intoxicating tropical bomb nature. There were a number of other very good beers as well, with Loch Ness Brewery delivering one of the best with their HoppyNess. I was also quite taken with the Stewart Edinburgh Festival. Stamps Swedish Blonde had no connection to Sweden that I could discern but was a Simcoe dry-hopped delight.

Next up was the slightly larger St Georges Hall festival in Liverpool. This was like going from the sublime to the ridiculous with a festival in such grand settings that offered some 300 beers and ciders. Last year saw 5,500 visitors over the four days and this year looked to surpass that total. One change from last year was the introduction of music into the main hall itself. This move, despite their being an excellent dedicated music room, proved less than successful. A hall full of that many punters doesn’t need any added noise and there were many complaints that conversation was difficult. I’m sure the South London Jazz Orchestra is very good but the conductor looked the worse for wear and the sound arrangement (according to the music teacher sat next to me) was all wrong. On the plus side there were some great beers. The Ashover Littlemoor Citra was a good start and the Black Iris American Blond was full of citrus all wrapped in a 3.6% treat. Sunny Republic Hop Dog promised the “sensation of being smacked in the mouth with a jar of marmalade.” And if you like that idea, you would have loved it. Otherwise, maybe not. But certainly enough choice for everyone and plenty of good cheese and pies as well. If you missed it, I recommend you try the winter festival in January 2015.


Popular posts from this blog

The Kimberley Club

British Guild Beer Writers Awards & Camden Brewery

Breakfast Beer Tasting: Suke Quto Coffee IPA