Thursday, July 24, 2014

Star Festival Review

Yesterday saw the start of one of the year's 'must visit' events, no not the Commonwealth Games but the 'Star Summer Festival' (the Folly Fest). The weather played its part, being warm and sunny for a change, as the queue outside basked in the heat waiting for the doors to open.

The layout was the tried and tested one used for previous festivals and I will not recap here but suffice to say that there are 46 beers in the outside marquee to sample. So sample I did.

My system at the festival is to sweep up as many new breweries as I can on the first evening, along with those beers I expect to run off quickly, and believe me, in the time I had available this was something of a challenge. This year there are a lot of beers from the South West, many of which are new to that area, with a scattering from Wales, Norfolk, Lancashire and the Midlands. 

After starting locally with the two Mallinsons offerings  'Trot On' and 'Hop Blending Bar Steward' and the Briggs 'Symphony no2', another light hoppy and well crafted beer it was time to see what the new boys had to offer. New Lion 'Mane Event' was a little average but their 'Pandit IPA' hit the spot for a stronger beer. I was impressed by the hoppy 'Kia Kaha' from Cwrw Lal, and the Big Clock 'Dirty Blonde' but my choice of Malmesbury 'Day Star' divided opinion. I did not care for it at all, but those who obviously have better taste than me were quite impressed.

My last choice was a porter from Grey Trees of Aberdare, a pleasant antidote to the light hoppy beers I had been sampling previously. Anyway time overtook me - so I will have to revisit tonight and try a few more. Those that look interesting are Tickety Brew 'Jasmine Green Tea', Shiny 'Silver Man' (a wheat beer) and Hamelsworde 'Early Bird' - with elderflowers, not to mention some rarer breweries. And I need to sample what someone told me was the beer of the festival, Glentworth's 'Dream Ticket' - I will let you know.

The festival runs from 5pm Thursday, then all day Friday, Saturday and Sunday, so add it to your list for the weekend, I am sure you will not be disappointed.  

Ps Sorry no pics - so warm I forgot to take my jacket, which has my camera in it !!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Star Festival List

The Star at Folly Hall's 'Folly Fest' starts at 5pm on Wednesday 23rd July 2014 and then Thursday evening and all day Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Beers 1 - 46 are in the outside marquee, 47 onwards will come on the pub bar as and when others run off.

See you there

1 PENPONT Cornish Gold 3.7
2 MALLINSONS Trot On 4
3 BRIGGS SIGNATURE Symphony no2 3.6
4 MALLINSONS Hop Blending Bar Steward 4.2
5 BLACK TOR Pride of Dartmoor 4
6 TWO BEACH Oarsome 4.7
7 BIG HAND Zeta 3.6
8 COUNTRY LIFE Shore Break 4.4
9 BAYS Rhino 4.7
10 NEW LION Pandit IPA 4.9
11 BOWNESS BAY Swan Blonde 4
12 PRIVATEER Patriot 3.9
13 TWO BEACH Shaldon Shag 4.2
14 TWISTED OAK Spun Gold 4.5
15 TAP EAST JWB 3.8
16 SILVER STREET Wildflower 4.3
17 SMALL WORLD Longmoor Pale 3.9
18 NEW LION Mane Event 3.8
19 HOLSWORTHY Sunshine 4
20 COUNTRY LIFE Reef Breaker 4
21 FORGE Devon Maid 4
22 CWRW WALES Kia Kaha 4.3
23 BIG CLOCK Dirty Blonde 4.2
24 TRUMANS Lazarus 4.2
25 BLUE BEE Hyphen 4.7
26 TOTALLY BREWED Punch In The Face 4.8
27 JUST A MINUTE Darkest Moment 4.3
28 FORGE Discovery 3.8
29 MALMESBURY Day Star 4.1
30 OLE SLEWFOOT Citraville 3.9
31 FRANKLINS Mama Knows Best 4.1
32 BLACK HILL Three Quarter IPA 4.4
33 KILLER CAT Manga 5
34 LEATHERBRITCHES Bad Boy 4.6
35 TICKETY BREW Jasmine Green Tea 3.8
36 GLENTWORTH Dream Ticket 4.4
37 GREY TREES Valley Porter 4.6
38 WINTERS Cloud Burst 3.7
39 ISCA Dawlish Pale 5
40 BACKYARD Bostin 4.2
41 HUNTERS Crackshot 3.8
42 ALLGATES/5 TOWNS Station to Station 5.6
43 HAMELSWORDE Early Bird 3.8
44 RED ROCK Lighthouse 3.9
45 SHINY Silver Man 4
46 INSTANT KARMA Saffrom Kayasa 4
47 TRYST Double Chocolate Porter 4.4
48 SMALL WORLD Summer Bank 3.7
49 FLIPSIDE Random Toss 4.4
50 MALMESBURY Burnville Hop 3.8
51 FUGGLE BUNNY Oh Crumbs 3.8
52 BLUE BEE Geek 5
53 BLACK TOR Dartmoor Pale 4.5
54 SILVER STREET Gentleman Mild 3.7
55 GELTSDALE Sno 4.5
56 JUST A MINUTE Hoppy Hour 4
57 BIG CLOCK Sunny Boy 3.8
58 FIVE TOWNS Raven King 5.5
59 RED ROCK Breakwater 3.9
60 GELTSDALE Sunstorm 4.5
61 HOLSWORTHY Tamar Black 4.8
62 TWISTED OAK Fallen Tree 3.8
63 HUNTERS Devon Dreamer 4.1
64 WINTERS Genius 4.4
65 NORTHUMBERLAND Geordie Cavalry 3.7
66 SMALL WORLD Barncliffe Bitter 3.7
67 JUST A MINUTE Lite Year 3.7
68 OLE SLEWFOOT Little Bear 3.7
69 OUT THERE Everybody's a Star 5.5
70 HADRIAN AND BORDERS Josies Dragonfly 4.3












Monday, July 21, 2014

Trio of beer fests in Huddersfield

UPDATED:
Huddersfield ale fans are in for a treble treat this weekend.
First The Star's beer festival kicks off at 5pm on Wednesday and runs until Sunday at Folly Hall. (See Tim's post).
Then Saturday at noon sees the start of Hall Bower beer festival in the shadow of Castle Hill. Over the course of the weekend expect beer from on your doorstep, like Mallinsons and Nook, and ones from further afield, like Gloucester Brewery, and Milk Street Brewery of Frome, Somerset.
An email from the BFH has also reminded me it's also Bobtown Beer Bash this Saturday from noon at the Roberttown Community Centre. There will be 35 plus real ales, including some "one off brews". 
With the weather set fair, Huddersfield seems to be the ideal destination.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Best in show: Crufts and Craft


Last weekend I went to a beer festival and ended up in the middle of a dog show.
I was headed for the Rising Sun's beer tent in Nether Green, Sheffield when I was approached by someone in authority asking me if I wanted to enter a pooch in their contest.
I politely declined, not having a dog, and made my way across the parade ground to where the marquee with 110 ales on stillage stood.
I paid my dues for a glass and vouchers and found a seat between two big Labradors after being recommended a nice pale beer from Kinver, of Staffordshire, at 4.5%.
I guess every beer festival has its unique selling point, well the Rising Sun's is a dog contest on the final day.
It drew in a cross section of people from young families, students, couples, middle-aged beer drinkers like myself and a few retired people.
The contestants were remarkably well behaved despite being in close proximity and there was plenty of awww factor, particularly when the puppy contest kicked off.
But we are not here to talk pedigree but about beer.
I think I was pretty overwhelmed by the choice from 81 breweries, so much so that I went away from deliberately seeking out new breweries and decided to ask knowledgeable bar staff to suggest something.
I was told that Abbeydale's Absolution from the wood was one of the first to go, and there were quite a few turned round labels from other breweries too.
My next suggested ale was  Hopocrisy from 6 Degrees North in Aberdeen. The excellent colour-coded programme informed that the Stonehaven alemakers pride themselves as The Belgian Brewers of Scotland. The tasting notes claimed a "touch of Madeira cake sweetness mingle with apricot and apples". Now I'm not sure I ticked those off but I got what it was hinting at. The first taste was quite unlike any other I'd had and not in an unpleasant way, just quite startling.
Next I opted for something I thought was more tried and tested ground for me - a mix of US and Australian hops. Pacific Pale, which was a shade under 5%  was from 360 Degrees Brewing Co in East Sussex. It was listed as a "chestnut coloured, modern pale ale" and I'm not sure what Tim would have made of that description (see earlier post). 
I veered away from stillage momentarily to try Acorn's entry into kegging, simply called Number 1.
The 4.3% straw coloured beer, obviously, had more carbonation than the on gravity beers I had tried.
It was my pick of the outdoor ales and it wasn't ridiculously priced like some kegged beers, £1.70 a half was just about bearable.
The last beer I tried outside was Benjamin James from North Riding whose beers I always make a point of sampling when I see them.
The beer was hopped with Mosaic, Columbus Galaxy and Comet, which I'd heard brewer Stuart Neilson had used to great effect at the recent Monkey Fest with Comet Extra.
This one had been brewed to celebrate the birth of BJ, the son of Abbeydale's sales boss Dan Baxter.
I bumped into Dan in the beer tent and he gave me a helpful potted history of the festival, which is now in its eighth year.
As the dog show reached fever pitch I decided to adjourn to the interior of the pub and have a look at the full Abbeydale range on handpull. I saw lots of familiar ones like Brimstone and Daily Bread but I went for two lesser known ones.
Dr Morton's Survival Kit, 4.1%, is Abbeydale's Charity Beer for 2014 with 10p from every pint going to Cavendish Cancer Care. Apparently it's brewed with the new "Expirimental 30D hop". It didn't knock my socks off, it seemed to be quite a subtle beer. But the next beer did grab me, a collaboration between Abbeydale and Founders, of Michigan. Collaboration became the inadvertent theme of this year's festival, with half a dozen or so on show.
But the 7% Anglo-American kegged beer was the only joint venture I tried. It's called 3712 because of the distance between the two breweries.
It has been described as a "strong, full-bodied pale golden beer made with a combination of low colour Maris Otter pale ale malt and caramalt for residual sweetness and body. US Mosaic, Simcoe, Citra and Chinook hops have been added by the bucket load to the boil, the hop back and conditioning tanks to deliver a deadly dose of Founders' "complex, in-your-face" flavours. 
"Balanced to perfection in true Abbeydale fashion allows flavours of citrus, tropical fruits, pine and grapefruit to fight for the attention of your tastebuds while the residual sweetness complements the bitter finish."
It also goes very well with Yorkshire Crisps Roast Lamb and Mint flavour but I guess the brewers from Grand Rapids didn't come half-way around the world to discover that!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Thurstyfest beer festival (July 18-20)

This is a quick note to say Thurstyfest begins tomorrow.
There will be 60 cask ales on over three days at The Rose & Crown in Thurstonland.
Getting there: Thurstonland sits at the top of a steepish hill diagonally above Brockholes station on the Penistone Line with public footpath access.
There is also the 911 bus service, from Honley Station or Brockholes Post Office, which cuts the hill out.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Star festival 7 days away

Just my usual reminder about the Summer Star Beer Festival, now known as the 'Folly Fest' due to start at 5pm next Wednesday (23rd), with 46 beers promised as usual in the outside marquee.

Full day opening Friday, Saturday, and Sunday with music again on Sunday afternoon. This time from the Monotones.

Get down and get sampling - see you there.

Plans for a Bradford Brewpub unveiled

There are certain cities that one connects with beer, and Bradford is not one of them. In fact, it is a city that I rarely visit nowadays, and certainly not for its pubs or ale. I did my degree there, for 4 years, and spent the last 8 years of my working life there, and I must admit, I do not like the place. (To put this in perspective, I know some very proud Bradfordians who love the place to bits - but even they struggle to name  a decent pub in the city centre).

There are a couple or so decent pubs but stupid geography has put the 'Fighting Cock' and the 'Corn Dolly' diametrically across the city centre with about a half hour walk between. The new(est) kid on the block is the 'Sparrow' but even that is up at the top of the centre, making a triangle and after walking to each one you have certainly earned your pint !

Anyway enough of this. Today I have received an interesting e mail from BFH - he who knows all - about a proposal for a Bradford City Brewpub.  The Bradford Brewery will be the first brewery in the city centre since 1955, almost 60 years, and will be housed in a 4 storey old mill building just off Westgate, which is a short walk from the city centre. It is proposed that the brewery and pub will be on different levels, but as seems to be the norm nowadays will have a viewing area, so the drinkers can view the workers !

The project will be part funded by a grant from the Bradford Council Growth Zone, and it is anticipated to cost in the region of £400,000. The brewery will have a 10 bbl plant, about 16,000 pints a week. But don't get too excited too soon, the project is still awaiting the outcome of the initial planning application for the change of use of the building, so it will be a while before it comes on stream. But we (or BFH !) will keep you posted.