As you may be aware, J D Wetherspoons are holding their annual beer festival between 15th April and 4th May this year (full menu here). They promise to provide 50 beers including several brewed by guest foreign brewers in British brew plants. Readers of the blog have probably noticed that The Cherry Tree In Huddersfield rarely features here - not because of the beer quality, that is usually good, but because of the feeling that the pub engenders. Who wants to drink in a converted bed shop for goodness sake??
That notwithstanding , and in the interest of beer drinking I had a little trip around the local 'Spoons' to see what was on offer - visiting those in Halifax and Brighouse as well as The Cherry Tree. Armed with their well produced programme I set to work on the many varied beers available, (for those wanting to sample plenty they do serve beers in third pint glasses, provided you want three of the beers on the bar).
A brief overview provided ten beers, only one I would have said was spectacular, a 6.2% porter from Finland. It was full of rich dark flavour provided by the use of four different malts according to the tasting notes. Many of the others seemed to be in the English mid-brown style and often tasted very similar.
The problem with the festival from my point of view is that each pub only has a certain number of beers on the bar at once, sold through the normal handpumps. Quality is therefore good, but the range seemed somewhat limited and pedestrian. There were often three foreign beers available but I avoided these generally for the British breweries offerings. Also it seemed that the same basic range was available at all the pubs I visited where I would have hoped for more variety. However, should you want a bit of a change then may be the Wetherspoon festival may provide it - it will certainly allow you to try beers crafted by brewers from outside the U.K and I hope to try more as the weeks go on. I will let you know.