Saturday, December 15, 2007

Saving The Best Till Last

Two outstanding winter beer festivals this weekend rounded off another year's ale chasing and provided an opportunity to really appreciate the more traditional styles of British brewing. As a hopelessly addicted gulper of pale hoppy beers, conditions have to be just right for me to make the move back to the dark side these days - but once in the mood...!

Suddaby's in Malton once again put on a great cross-section of colours, strengths and styles amongst their forty beers but as usual I had great difficulty in moving on from the likes of the irrepressible Dark Star Hophead and truly wondrous Grand Union Liberty Blond. And this will always be the case when presented with these lightweight and full-flavoured session ales I'm afraid. It's not a fear of trying new stuff, but as I've said before, too much choice just seems to have me lazily opting for the sanctuary of old favourites.

The solution is simple - a festival solely devoted to the old style winter warmers with no lager look-a-like distractions or zesty orange scented temptresses, just proper beer-coloured ales, engine-oil porters and rich syrupy stouts.

The Drop Inn at Elland not only managed to lay on just such a do with some truly classic examples of the dark craft, but coincided it perfectly with the coldest few nights of the winter so far - ideal conditions! Of the fifteen beauties to try it was a tough choice picking a top-dog but I have to say that after reaching Critical Mass, a Rum for Cover had me heading straight to Oblivion! With any luck I might just recover in time for Christmas!
pics: Suddaby's festival bar & part of the weird & wonderful decor in the fest-shed

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